Defying high unemployment and an economic recession, the housing market has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. That isn’t likely to let up heading into the winter months, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®.
“2020 has been a year of surprises,” Yun said, singling out the robust housing market in the face of a global pandemic.
Existing-home sales in September climbed nearly 21% higher than a year ago, new-home sales are 32% higher compared to last year, and pending home sales or contract signings jumped 20.5%, housing data shows.
“This winter may be one of the best winters for sales activity,” Yun said. “It won’t match summer or spring sales numbers, but on a winter-to-winter comparison, this could be one of the best breakout years just based on the fact that pending contracts are at such a higher level.”
Mortgage applications also are up 20% year over year, which reflect buyers in the pipeline that have been approved for mortgages and are ready to buy. Home prices are up too: The median existing-home price for all housing types was $311,800 in September—a 14.8% increase from a year ago.
What’s next for 2021? A persistent housing shortage will likely keep home prices elevated, while new- and existing-home sales will continue to rise as record low mortgage rates and a work-from-home trend give housing markets a boost, Yun said.
Source: National Association of Realtors, www.nar.realtor.
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