Looking to 2021: Several U.S. Residential Markets Continue to Thrive

With COVID-19 causing an impact in many industries, it’s no surprise that this has extended to the real estate market. It particularly had a big impact on luxury home trends. For instance, more people are looking for homes with enough room for an office space, since most companies have implemented remote work. There’s also an increase in demand for outdoor space and swimming pools as more public places have remained closed. Across the US, the pandemic has affected residential real estate markets in drastic ways.

Here are the different impacts of each of these cities.

New York
Source: Luca Bravo

Luxury real estate has been negatively impacted during this pandemic. Home sales in manhattan have fallen 56% between March 23rd and August 16th and for properties over 4 million or above there was a 67% drop. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, signed contracts had a 167% increase in Manhattan.  Many wealthy New Yorkers made their way to Hamptons or to Palm Beach during the pandemic and haven’t returned, according to New York Gov. Andrew Coumo. Many new yorkers who fled their homes in the city moved to nearby locations in Long island, new jersey and upstate new york. Brooklyn had the second highest number of mail forwarding requests particularly in neighbourhoods like Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights.

Los Angeles
Source: Pedro Marroquin

The ultra-rich in these areas are still buying homes, the pandemic has done very little to slow down L.A’s luxury market. This year, the county has seen 82 home sales of $5 million or more, including 14 transactions more than $10 million. These next few months could be a unique opportunity to attain a dream home that wouldn’t otherwise be available. Manhattan has also seen a similar trend in the third week of July – 155 contracts were signed according to the the marked report from UrbanDigs, this number however is lower by 15% than the previous year. A reason from this is because while New Yorkers are attempting to leave the city, L.A residents are looking for homes which they can stay in for the Long run. While L.A saw the continuing impact of COVID-19 on non essential businesses and restaurants facing restrictions and closures, the real estate market continued to strengthen as many communities saw bitgh sales activity and price increases.

Source: Ashley Satanosky

The condo market in Miami has been seeing a declining transaction volume since 2013. In comparison to home sales per price range, the condo market has suffered more during the last 6 months than homes. While condo sales have decreased, homesales have been up. Despite the pandemic unsettling market dynamics, luxury condo sales are making a comeback this quarter.  The single-family home market is a very strong market that has flourished during these last 6 months. The increase in demand was mainly caused by relocating families whose desire to move to Miami was sped up because of Covid. In combination with Miami’s favorable tax climate and today’s need for space (garden, home office etc) they experienced a large amount of sales.

Palm Beach

Home sales drastically slowed down across Florida in the early months of the health crisis. Certain luxury markets, such as Miami Beach, have taken longer to recover. Yet, Palm Beach has experienced a surge of activity, and sale prices are reaching new heights. There were 41 single-family home sales in the town of Palm Beach in the second quarter, a 21% increase from the same quarter a year ago, according to Corcoran Group. The median sale price rose 36% to $7 million. Palm Beach is also known to have “old money” residents with seniors who inherited their wealth but many new buyers are very successful working families that have kids. Most of them are moving there full time. Overall sales across condos and single families grew by the highest rate in a decade. In sixteen years, the median sales price reached its highest level and listing inventory fell to the second-lowest level in eight years.

Source: Ben Dutton

So far, the metro Atlanta housing market has experienced a smooth recovery.  According to the August 2020 monthly report by Realtor.com, the Atlanta housing market is balanced meaning there’s a good balance between buyers and sellers in the market. The median list price of homes in Atlanta, GA was $350,000 on their platform trending up 7.7%. The median listing price per square foot was $227. The median sale price was $319k. Sellers in the Atlanta area have managed to have good leverage in these negotiations in the past month. The single- family residential housing market in metro Atlanta got impacted by the pandemic with home sales decreasing from April onward. Atlanta housing prices are holding strong with hardly any decline due to the ongoing pandemic.In comparison to April, the medial sales price dropped by 3.6% and the average price dropped by 3.3%

Source: Anthony Delanoix

While there was a peak in uncertainty in the real estate and financial market across the country, the Greater Boston area remained calm during this pandemic. There’s been a recovery fueled largely by historically low interest rates as well as more homeowners desire to upgrade their living spaces after many months. The global pandemic shut down a huge chunk of the Massachusetts economy in late March with restrictions and social distancing guidelines in place. However, luxury home buying increased in the months following the outbreak in Greater Boston.These locations included Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Chelsea, Somerville and Revere. There was about a 25% increase in home sales in Eastern Massachusetts excluding urban municipalities and the Cape and Islands between March and late June.

Source: Antonio Gabola

In the Chicago MetroHousing Market, which comprises the nine counties, home sales (single-family and condominiums were up 12% from july 2019 sales. The median price in July was $277,000 in the Chicago Metro Area, an increase of 6.9 percent from $259,000 in July 2019, according to Illinois Realtors. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in July was $330,000, up 7.5 percent from July 2019. The City of Chicago’s inventory is down 12.0%, from 10,343 homes in July 2019 to 9,104 homes in July 2020.The median price forecast for Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area is 7.2% in August, 8.9% in September, and 6.7% in October. The sales forecast for August, September, and October suggests an increase on a yearly basis and a decrease on a monthly basis for both Illinois and the Chicago PMSA August 2020 report shows that Chicago was a balanced real estate market, which means there was a healthy balance of buyers and sellers in the market. 

Source: Aleksey Kuprikov

Dallas County’s housing market saw its worst declines so far from COVID-19 in May. May home sales in Dallas County were down almost 35% from a year earlier as the pandemic took hold.Median home sales prices in Dallas dropped almost 4% from May 2019 levels, according to the latest statistics from the MetroTex Association of Realtors. As of September 2020, the Dallas housing market is a seller’s market, which means there are roughly more buyers than there are active homes for sale. Mortgage rates have hit another record low putting many homebuyers in the buying mood. Sellers are just not putting their homes on the market which has left the available houses for sale at a historically low level. The market is expected to remain hot for the remainder of 2020.


The impact of the pandemic in D.C. has been different to what you might expect. As you will see, the property market here has reacted differently than the markets elsewhere in the country. Houses that trade at $2 million and below are seeing a tremendous surge in demand in the suburbs, like Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac. The luxury market in the metro area is tracking ahead of 2019 sales. Because money is so cheap right now and buyers want larger properties with more privacy due to the pandemic, luxury properties outside of the District are selling. However, buyers are definitely starting to see how fast luxury properties over $2 million are selling, but they will not overpay.

Source: Cassie Gallegos

Home sales fell year-over-year and are down 26% from May 2019. In July, there seems to be a market rebound as consumer confidence begins to rise and as mortgage rates hover around historic lows.While this supply dipped in April, the July report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors shows a surge in new listings, up 17% year-over-year. And while home prices were holding steady through June, they are now on the rise as Denver is turning into a strong seller’s market. In Denver, people were searching for homes again in June as the economy opened back up and as record-low mortgage rates remained intact. Real estate agents closed nearly 60% more home sales in June compared to May, and housing prices are still up compared to 2019.


Active listings are up 2.6 percent compared to the same time last year, but single-family pending sales are down 2 percent. Single-family home inventory is at 3.5 months of supply, down slightly from the 3.8-month supply a year ago. Months of inventory estimates the number of months it would take to sell all the home listings on the market today based on the pace of sales over the past 12 months. The condo market also saw a significant increase in prices and sales over the same period. New development condo sales, reflecting 9.5% of all condo sales, experienced the largest annual increase in a decade, rising 36.8% from the prior-year quarter.


Source: Lisa Campbell

Phoenix is past the buying peak, the number of houses going under contract to buyers was down a bit the last 2 months. But the market is still in a frenzy because the number of houses hitting the market is still running 10% below last year after running 20% below last year in April and May. Single-family house sales in April and May were down a total of 31% from 2019 but sales completely rebounded in June and were essentially the same as in 2019. The number of single-family houses hitting the market in April and May was down a total of 20% from 2019 but only rebounded halfway back to normal in June. The number of houses hitting the market was still down 10% in June compared to 2019.

San Francisco
Source: Tim Foster

San Francisco’s real estate industry took a turn for the better in activity in May, but the damage from coronavirus is still apparent, according to a report Friday from Compass. The number of listings going into contract fell to below 30 during the last week of March, following the city’s shelter-in-place order that was announced on March 16. Before the pandemic hit, San Francisco had the highest building occupancy rate in the country. Now, most of the city’s skyscrapers sit empty. Within the condo market, the high-rise segment appears to be the weakest, almost certainly due to pandemic-related reasons.

Source: Luca Micheli

With Seattle being one of the first and hardest-hit markets by Covid-19, the commercial real estate market has had to adapt. The city has seen short-term renewals for office products while smaller tenants are exploring whether they need new or additional space. Many deals are on hold, as expected, and some tenants are moving items into storage units and working from home for the time being. Seattle home sales were up 50% from last quarter and up 29% compared to this same time last year. The highest Seattle home sale was a 2014-built, 6400 square foot Laurelhurst (North Seattle) waterfront home for just shy of $11.5 million and the lowest was a 1982-built, 240 square foot approved floating home in a leased slip on Lake Union (Ballard-Green Lake) for $187,500.

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