Regarding the current situation – a heady mix of low inventory, high prices and fierce bidding wars – there were now signs the market was cooling, she said.

“Homes are starting to take a little bit longer to sell – it’s still by historical standards very much a seller’s market – but it seems home prices have gone up so much that many buyers are just throwing in the towel and deciding to rent instead.”

Ironically, the reported cooling of the housing market has had an unexpected consequence as demand for rentals has soared for both apartments and single-family homes, sparking a similar bidding war, according to reports.

Redfin’s recent report on the biggest rise in the price of condos since 2012, up by 20.3% in a year, was seen as another sign that buyers were being priced out of the market for single-family homes, and that this was further evidence of the lack of available homes on the market.

Dr Fairweather reckoned a lot more could, and should, be done to inject life back into the construction sector. She said: “I’m very concerned. In this country we have not been building enough homes for anybody who wants one, and it’s contributing to rising inequality for many people in the United States.”