RISMEDIA, November 4, 2010–(MCT)–U.S. household formations are at their lowest since 1947, data from the Census Bureau show. And that’s helping to keep the supply of unsold homes at near-record levels nationwide, even though relatively few houses are being added to the inventory.

Between March 2009 and March 2010, the number of households rose just 357,000, according to the census data. In the previous 12 months, the number increased only 398,000, the third-smallest increase on record since World War II.

Between 2002 and 2007, before the economy started on its downward trajectory, household formations averaged 1.3 million a year, U.S. census data show.

“That’s the consequence of the consumer fear of what’s happening with the economy and with the job market,” said Lucien Salvant, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors.

“When people are afraid of losing their jobs or not being able to get into the job market, they are not thinking about buying a home,” Salvant said. “Many opt to stay at home with parents, or to share rentals with friends.”

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One Reason for Housing Glut: Fewer New Households