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D.C.-area housing market flourishes despite coronavirus

D.C.-area housing market flourishes despite coronavirus

The various shapes predicted by economists reflect their expectations for the charts generated by employment figures, the stock market, retail sales, auto sales and home sales as people return to work. These expectations are tempered by predictions of any potential future issue with a stronger return of the coronavirus that could cause renewed stay-at-home mandates. Unlike the previous recession at the end of the 2000s, which was fueled in part by the housing crisis, today’s difficulties are directly tied to efforts to control the virus rather than any fundamental economic problems.

Nationwide, the housing market is in particularly good shape because demand remains high and mortgage rates are phenomenally low. The housing shortage will keep competition heated and prices firm.

The Washington region, widely regarded as a recession-resistant economy thanks to jobs tied to the federal government and the tech industry, has seen a strong resurgence since May.

Spring market converted to summer market

The housing market, particularly in the Washington, D.C., region, was on track for a robust spring. In the first half of March, before the stay-at-home guidelines kicked in, homes were selling fast and the median sales price for the month reached a 10-year high of $490,000. More than half of all homes sold in the region were snapped up in one to 10 days.

Even in April, as concern about the novel coronavirus spread, regional home prices were up to a 10-year high for the month, at $507,000, which was also an increase of 6.7 percent over the median sales price in April 2019. Homes were selling for the full asking price or more.

But in April, pending sales declined and new listings dropped significantly as sellers opted to hold back their listings. Pending sales refer to homes that are under contract that have yet to

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COVID-19 Has Changed The Housing Market Forever. Here’s Where Americans Are Moving (And Why)

COVID-19 Has Changed The Housing Market Forever. Here’s Where Americans Are Moving (And Why)

Amid all the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 over the past six months, one thing is assured: the pandemic has re-ordered real estate markets across the board on an unprecedented scale.

Some of this may be irreversible. Real estate’s re-sorting this time isn’t just based on markets crashing (the Great Recession), political turmoil (the 1979 oil embargo), or financial speculation (the first and second dot.com busts)—after which there’s generally confidence that overall consumer demand and buyer preferences will sooner or later snap back to normal.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more deep-seeded, tectonic-sized questions beyond markets and interest rates are being asked this time around that no one really has the answers to yet—like will people feel safer living in the south and southwest where they can spend all year social distancing outside? What if companies let workers work remotely for the rest of their lives? Why go back to retail shopping when I’m already ordering everything online? What’s the point of living “downtown” if half of the restaurants, bars, and museums never open back up?

How these questions get answered will fundamentally re-order how Americans live in the “new” pandemic normal, and as a result will play a huge X-factor in which cities and states will experience growth, demand, and price appreciation over the next 3-5 years, and which ones will stagnate and lose. More broadly for large metropolises like Washington, D.C., New York City, Portland, and Philadelphia, the answers risk slowing or even reversing a wave of gentrification and wildly profitable downtown revitalization that’s been accelerating since before the Great Recession.

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How a Biden Presidency Could Change the Housing Market

How a Biden Presidency Could Change the Housing Market

A man and woman carrying boxes into the kitchen of their new home.

Image source: Getty Images

The United States is deep in the throes of a housing crisis. There’s a shortage of affordable homes for low-income families, and tens of millions of Americans spend more than 30% of their income on housing. To that end, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has some ideas on how to change the housing market for the better. Here are some highlights from his campaign.

1. Protect homeowners from abusive lending practices

Unfortunately, some mortgage lenders are known to engage in practices that hurt homeowners financially. Biden proposes a new Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights that seeks to prevent mortgage brokers from charging borrowers more than what’s appropriate (which generally occurs by jacking up their closing costs and fees). The Bill of Rights will also protect homeowners in the process of loan modification from foreclosure and give homeowners a clear path of recourse when lenders attempt to violate these protections.

2. Protect renters from abusive landlords

The aforementioned Bill of Rights will help renters, too. Landlords will not be allowed to discriminate against tenants who are receiving federal housing benefits. Furthermore, Biden’s plan will provide legal assistance to tenants facing eviction.

3. End discriminatory practices in the housing market

Redlining, or denying mortgages in specific communities due to their demographics, has long been a problem. Biden seeks to end that practice. He wants legislation that requires any state that receives certain federal grants to develop inclusionary zoning policies.

Along these lines, Biden wants to hold financial institutions accountable for discriminatory lending practices. That way, borrowers of all backgrounds and from all communities have a chance at financing a home. This standard will apply to non-bank lenders as well.

Biden also envisages a national standard for home appraisals. It’s often easier to sell or refinance a mortgage on

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Buy Surging Sleep Number (SNBR) Stock as Housing Market Play?

Buy Surging Sleep Number (SNBR) Stock as Housing Market Play?

Shares of Sleep Number SNBR have soared 110% in the last six months to more than double the Home Furnishing-Appliance Market, as people upgrade their living spaces during the pandemic. More importantly, home buying is surging amid the record-low mortgage rates and a desire for more space during the coronavirus.

Sleep Number is set to release its Q3 FY20 results on Wednesday, October 14. So should investors consider buying the high-end bed firm’s stock as a longer-term bet on the housing market?

The Quick Pitch

U.S. home sales surged 10.5% on an annual basis in August, which came after July’s huge growth that represented the strongest monthly gain ever recorded, dating back to 1968. And now the housing market is finally being driven by millennials, which has industry analysts projecting a multi-year boom for the market, as the largest portion of the generation start to get married and have kids.

For instance, the Construction sector is one of only two of the 16 Zacks sectors that is projected to post earnings growth in the third quarter, with it expected to climb 11%—compared to the Medical sector’s 0.7% and the overall S&P 500’s projected -22.3% decline (also read: Q3 Bank Earnings in the Spotlight Next Week).

Sleep Number itself is not an exact proxy for the broader home market, but it does stand to benefit. The company, which makes high-end adjustable beds, memory foam mattresses, kids beds, bedding, pillows and more is a solid way to play the overall housing market expansion. On top of that, more people are paying attention to their health and self care during the coronavirus, and sleeping plays a vital role.

Sleep Number topped our estimates last quarter, even though its revenue slipped due to pandemic-related store closures. The company noted in its mid-July report that

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