It seemed an odd thing to write about at the time, but in the depths of the housing recession in March 2010, I was reporting on emerging signs of a housing shortage.

Yes, it is true that the nation was awash in distressed housing in spring 2010 - leading the government to offer tax breaks to home buyers that ended in June of that year.

Yet analysts were saying that the overabundance of available homes at the time might be masking a need for more housing in certain parts of the country in the next few years.

Those few years are up, and it appears that predictions made in 2010 are coming true.

While I greet housing-industry studies with some skepticism, a recent one by the National Association of Realtors appears to be telling me that the 2010 analysts' predictions of a shortage might be valid.

The Realtors' study says home construction is insufficient in a majority of metro areas and is contributing to persistent housing shortages and unhealthy price growth in many markets.

If you recall my second-quarter real estate market story Aug. 23, our region experienced a modest growth in sales and prices in those three months from both the first quarter and from April through June of 2014.

At the same time, the number of homes for sale during the second quarter was lower than the April to June 2014 period.

Yet, the price growth in the Philadelphia region is not considered unhealthy by any means, because, as we have heard time and time again, our market is not one known for giant gains and huge losses.

In the suburbs, prices have recovered just 9 percent of the 23 percent they lost when the housing bubble burst in 2007, said Kevin Gillen, chief economist for Meyers Research and senior research fellow at Drexel University's Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.

That, and the fact that in the great majority of cases, bidding wars for the cream of the houses listed for sale result in prices near, at, or a little above asking price, area real estate agents say.

Walk down any street in Center City and its adjacent neighborhoods and if you can make it without having to cross the street to avoid a construction site, you are doing well.

Add the thousands of houses categorized as distressed in Camden, Gloucester, and Burlington Counties that have not made it to the market yet, and "unhealthy" takes on a different characteristic.

Realtors measured the volume of home construction relative to the number of newly employed workers in 146 metropolitan statistical areas.

The findings show that homebuilding activity for all housing types is underperforming in roughly two-thirds of them.

The ratio of permits to employment is 3.7 nationally. This means demand is higher than supply, so prices in these markets are increasing too fast, making homes for many of these new workers unaffordable.

If you follow the housing market closely, you know that the big reason why housing construction has been lagging is related to credit availability.

Since the housing market scraped bottom in 2012, checks on the pulse of the building industry showed it as weak as the lenders' desire to provide financing - often to the point of irrationality.

One South Jersey builder had two agreements of sale when he went to the bank for financing, but was told his limit was one house at a time.

He explained that this is why builders typically have relationships with more than one lender, and so he was able to acquire the financing necessary.

I'm sure homebuilders will prove smart enough to find creative ways to keep the home shortage at bay.

215-854-2472@alheavens