The COVID-19 pandemic may be hitting the economy hard, bringing the highest national unemployment rate since the Great Depression, but median home prices defied the odds and jumped 3.1% year over year last week, according to realtor.com® housing data for the week ending May 23. That’s double the 1.5% annual increase for the previous week.
The National Association of REALTORS® recently reported that prices for existing homes jumped 7.4% in April compared to a year earlier. All four major regions of the U.S. posted annual price gains. “There are still buyers in the market,” says realtor.com® Senior Economist George Ratiu. “But given the very limited number of properties available, buyers are willing to pay more.”
The number of listings on the market fell 22% year over year during the week of May 23, realtor.com® reports. More buyers are competing for a limited supply of homes, prompting home prices to rise. Prior to the institution of state stay-at-home orders, home prices increased 4.4% annually in the first two weeks of March. “The mix of homes that are on the market now is a little bit different,” Ratiu says. “What’s really selling at a premium are lower-priced homes. The higher-priced homes are sitting on the market longer.”