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Published: Aug 03, 2020 5 min read

A new report from Realtor.com, shows that housing has recovered to pre-pandemic levels in more than half of the largest metro areas, with median list prices up more than 9% over last year.

Despite the major economic challenges created by the coronavirus, homebuyers who are able are taking advantage of historically low interest rates and seeking out extra space.

"Housing tends to be immune from economic downturns and slowdowns, " said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for Realtor.com. "Right now we're seeing markets recover faster where they're able to contain the virus better."

To determine where recovery is strongest, the survey took into account year-over-year asking price growth, percentage of new listings on the market, how many days on the market it took to sell a home and online home search growth. An index measured how those stats compared in July to a pre-COVID level of market activity. A score of 100% means the market is performing at the same level as it did in January 2020, before the pandemic hit.

This analysis showed that within each metropolitan area—which includes a main city and surrounding suburbs and smaller cities—less expensive areas where buyers can get more living space for their money are in demand and driving the recovery. With the increasing move towards remote work, it's becoming less important to live near the job centers.

Boston led the way in the survey with a score of 122.5%, followed by Seattle (113.73%), New York (112.74%), Philadelphia (112.35%), and Denver (111.66%).

What are people paying for mortgages right now?

Borrowers with 700 credit scores were charged an average of 3.342% to secure a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage on Friday, according to Money's survey of over 8,000 mortgage lenders across the country. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.382%.

What are experts saying about home prices?

Sarah Pierce, head of sales at online mortgage lender Better.com, on the importance of shopping around to find the best mortgage rates:

For more information on finding the lowest interest rates go to: How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rate: A Step-By-Step Guide.

What should house hunters be watching next?

On Monday afternoon, the Mortgage Bankers Association will release the latest information on mortgage loans in forbearance. The trend has been for the number of loans leaving forbearance programs to outpace the number of borrowers requesting forbearance. This trend may be affected by the recent slowdown of the economic reopening as COVID-19 infections are on the rise in some states. On Tuesday, Realtor.com will release its Housing Inventory survey as well as its Market Hotness Index.

What are today’s advertised rates?

Of course, mortgage rates vary widely by location and personal factors like location, the size of your down payment and your credit score. Here are today’s advertised mortgage rates at some of the mortgage industry’s largest lenders. (All rates are APRs. The rates you see may be different.)

JP Morgan Chase

Based in New York, JP Morgan Chase has nearly 5,000 U.S. branches.

Mortgage rates advertised for August 3:

30-year fixed: 2.844%

15-year-fixed: 2.504%

5-year ARM: 2.663%

(Rates based on New York City zip code 10006.)

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Wells Fargo

Based in San Francisco, Wells Fargo has more than 7,000 locations.

Mortgage rates advertised for August 3:

30-year fixed: 2.996%

15-year-fixed: 2.810%

5-year ARM: 2.827%

Quicken

Quicken, a non-bank lender based in Detroit, is the nation’s largest mortgage lender by dollar origination volume.

Mortgage rates advertised for August 3:

30-year fixed: 3.119%

15-year-fixed: 2.833%

(Quicken doesn’t advertise a five-year adjustable rate.)

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Bottom Line:

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