Number of the Day

The Housing Market’s Red-Hot Summer, by the Numbers

In the middle of a recession, the residential real estate market is suddenly booming

Marker Editors
Published in
2 min readAug 25, 2020


Marker # of the Day: 24.7% — The monthly increase in existing-home sales in July. Source: National Association of Realtors
Photo illustration, source: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

24.7%: That’s the monthly increase in existing-home sales in July, according to the National Association of Realtors; the numbers, released late last week, are “among the strongest the housing market has ever seen,” The Wall Street Journal notes. Housing sales were sluggish early in the pandemic, but a combination of factors has changed that. Pent-up demand and low interest rates are helping. So is a spike in first-time home-buyers, who accounted for 34% of July sales. (Housing starts are also up, and a rise in sales of new homes is expected, too. Homeownership generally is at a reported 12-year high.)

Another widely cited reason? The “emerging Covid-era lifestyle.” With work-from-home arrangements expected to linger, workers are seeking more space further from the office — and in some cases, for workers who expect to stay remote, in another region altogether.

That said, the idea of a full-on exodus from cities to suburbs may be overblown. A recent analysis by real-estate site Zillow found evidence of declining list prices in Manhattan, San Francisco, and some other cities, but concluded that in general both urban and suburban areas are “hot sellers’ markets right now.”

Maybe the ultimate home-improvement project is just getting a better home.