The plunging housing stat you need to watch

Kolko estimated that there are 2.4 “missing households” today, that is, people who should be living on their own, either in rental or owner-occupied homes, but are not.

(Read more: Housing’s top ‘turnaround’ markets)

The irony is that the past few years have actually been prime time for home buying. Prices dropped dramatically and mortgage rates hit historic lows, but all-cash investors reaped most of the rewards.

“I think there is a lot of frustration, even rage, that regular home buyers were beat out by investors, that the people who really needed affordable housing were the ones who couldn’t get it,” said Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, a real estate company.

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