Last week, we were telling you how the pace of construction of single-family homes is picking up in many parts of the country, but Jersey continues to lag behind.

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In fact, new Labor Department data shows the Garden State actually lost 4200 construction jobs last month, and suddenly, there's concern that if the trend continues, we could be facing a housing shortage in Jersey in the not-too-distant future.

Walter Maloney, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, says there's a huge, pent-up demand for housing - with many people living with family and friends over the past 4 years because of the recession.

But many builders in Jersey are having trouble getting construction loans, and that's one of the reasons why housing starts in Jersey are still sluggish.

He says "the irony is, if housing construction does not pick up to fundamental demands, within 2 years we could be seeing abnormal growth of home prices, something we want to avoid…we could be looking at housing shortages within a couple of years.

Maloney points out this scenario would force up the price of apartment rentals, as well.

"Vacancy rates are around 4.3 percent and declining. Anything below 5 percent is considered a landlord's market, which justifies higher rents - and that's what's occurring."