While home sales have increased in every price bracket since the COVID-19 pandemic began, they’re rising much more quickly at the upper end of the market.
Indeed, sales of luxury homes valued at $1 million or more have doubled since last year, causing National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun to comment that this is “very unusual” even in these unprecedented times.
“I don’t ever recall home sales doubling in a 12-month time span,” he said in an interview with NPR.
The NAR’s most recent statistics show that home sales in areas considered to be luxury vacation hotspots have risen fast since July, and were up 34% year over year by the end of September.
“The uncertainty about when the pandemic will end, coupled with the ability to work from home, appears to have boosted sales in summer resort regions, including Lake Tahoe, the Mid-Atlantic beaches, and the Jersey Shore areas,” Yun said last week.
Some believe that the real estate market is becoming a tale of the haves and the have-nots, with those who have managed to stay employed during the pandemic never feeling richer, while those who are out of work now struggling to pay the rent or their mortgages.
And with the pandemic causing work and school to merge under a single roof, many of those who are feeling secure financially are looking for more space. Mortgage rates are at record lows too, and that’s helping to encourage those in a position to buy even further, as buying a home becomes more cost-effective.
The effects can be seen in every segment of the market, even as high demand and low inventory continue to push prices up. Last month, the NAR said sales of homes priced at $250,000 to $500,000 jumped by 36%, while the median home price in September hit a record high of $312,000, up 14.8% from last year.