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Eerie Calm Settles on Housing Market, Defying Doomsayers for Now

  • Pandemic hasn’t brought wave of defaults that some predicted
  • Expiring stimulus could renew distress for owners and renters
A New Residential Property Ahead Of Housing Starts Figures
Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg

The U.S. housing market, which seemed headed off a cliff in April, now looks like it’s returning to some semblance of normal. The quiet may not last long.

The initial chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic has given way to an eerie calm, housing-industry executives say. Unemployment is near record highs, yet home prices keep rising. Lenders that in March warned of imminent collapse are now getting crushed by a surge in mortgage applications. Even some private-mortgage issuers, which don’t have government backing and are typically the most risk-averse in a recession, have come back into the market and say their mortgage-bond offerings have been oversubscribed.