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Published: Jul 23, 2020 5 min read

Historically low mortgage rates have spurred overall housing market growth to pre-COVID levels. However, as average rates tick back up over 3%, experts say that alone won't be enough to sustain the recovery.

According to Realtor.com's Weekly Recovery Report, the housing market has returned to pre-pandemic levels, reaching the January 2020 growth rates. The Housing Recovery Index reached 101 points for the week ending July 18, up 2.5% from a week ago. The Index is calibrated to read 100 as the pre-COVID benchmark.

While buyer demand remains strong, there is still concern over the tight housing supply and broader economy. According to the report, new listings are down 15% compared to last year and total housing inventory is down 33%.

"There is no blueprint for a pandemic induced recession, but this recovery milestone is further proof that homebuyers will persevere through the biggest of storms," said Javier Vivas, director of economic research at Realtor.com. "The real question will be whether the market will be able to sustain that pace through the rest of the summer and going into the fall."

All four market regions experienced growth, with the Northeast leading the way with an index of 106.3, followed by the West with a rating of 105.5. The South and the Midwest showed improvement but still lag below the benchmark with indexes of 97.9 and 97.3 respectively.

Average Mortgage Rates Today

For the week ending July 23, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up to 3.01% with 0.8 points paid, according to Freddie Mac. That's up 0.03 percentage points the previous average of 2.98%, the lowest rate recorded in 50 years of Freddie Mac's interest rate survey.