The COVID-19 pandemic may be hitting the economy hard and bringing the highest national unemployment rate in the U.S. 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 staying on the market longer.”

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