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Home sales rise 25 percent in July as housing market booms amid pandemic

Home sales rise 25 percent in July as housing market booms amid pandemic
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Sales of existing homes skyrocketed in July as Americans who were able to weather the start of the coronavirus-driven recession helped fuel a boom in the U.S. housing market, according to data released Friday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Sales of single-family homes, condominiums and co-ops rose 24.7 percent across the U.S. from June to July and 8.7 percent since July 2019. The median sale price of existing homes also rose 8.5 percent from July 2019 to $304,100, according to the NAR, breaching $300,000 for the first time ever.

“The housing market is well past the recovery phase and is now booming with higher home sales compared to the pre-pandemic days,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

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July marks the second straight month with a record-breaking increase in existing home sales, which rose 20.7 percent in June. Housing prices also rose in 174 of 181 metropolitan statistical areas, or 96 percent of all localized housing markets, according to data released by the NAR last week.

The housing market has been among the quickest sectors of the economy to recover from the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic. Massive declines in interest rates driven in part by Federal Reserve rate cuts and months of working from home have prompted households who’ve held on to their jobs and wealth to find larger living spaces.

“With the sizable shift in remote work, current homeowners are looking for larger homes and this will lead to a secondary level of demand even into 2021,” Yun said.

Those factors have also fueled a boom for hardware and home supply stores that have enjoyed massive increases in revenue as homeowners take on renovation and gardening projects during quarantine.

Even so, the housing and renovation boom comes as more than 20 million Americans hit hardest by the recession face eviction or foreclosure. A federal ban on evictions and foreclosures enacted through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in March expired on July 31 without an extension from Congress. While President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE has issued executive orders meant to expand those protections, affordable housing advocates say they will do little to solve the problem.