by Zero Hedge Mon, 11/23/2020 – 22:40

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

This is a really odd time to be having a “housing boom”.  We are in the middle of the worst public health crisis in 100 years, endless civil unrest has been ravaging many of our largest cities, and we are experiencing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  But even though more than 70 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits this year, home sales are absolutely rocking.  How in the world is this possible?

Well, this phenomenon is actually quite easy to explain.  As our society comes apart at the seams all around us, vast numbers of Americans are seeking greener pastures.  According to ABC News, the chaotic events of 2020 have caused “millions of Americans” to relocate.  In New York City alone, more than 300,000 former residents have permanently moved to new addresses.

We have never seen anything quite like this before, and it is anticipated that this trend will continue into 2021.  Even though most Americans don’t know exactly what is ahead, I think that on some level many of them can feel what is coming, and they are getting out of the big cities while they still can.

So even though we are literally in the midst of a horrifying economic depression, homes are selling like hotcakes right now

Home sales rose again in October, at their highest pace in 14 years, according to the National Association of Realtors.

But a record low inventory of available homes and a greater number of luxury homes sold have pushed the median home price up to a record $313,000, almost 16% more than a year ago.

With so many interested buyers and such little inventory, it has definitely become a seller’s market

At the current pace of sales, it would take just 2.5 months to clear the existing inventory — a record low.

If you want to sell your home, now is a really good time to do so.

But then good luck finding a new place.

This incredible surge in demand for housing has also fueled a tremendous boom in housing starts

Single-family starts experienced continued gains in October, according to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau. Single-family construction is up 8.6% year-to-date, with notable gains in 2020 for the Midwest and other lower-density markets.

The pace of single-family starts in October was the highest production rate since the spring of 2007.

So even though so many other sectors of the economy are deeply hurting at the moment, those that build homes are loving life right now.

Real estate websites are also doing extremely well.  In particular, “Zillow surfing” has become a new national pastime

Zillow usage has climbed since March, with online visitors to for-sale listings up more than 50 percent year-over-year in the early months of the pandemic.

People bond over listings on Discord servers, group chats and “Zillow Twitter,” and their obsession has made many strange and obscure listings go viral. Curbed, a website covering city life, real estate and design, recently started a column called My Week in Zillow Saves, in which people (myself included) share the homes they’ve admired on the site.

If you can believe it, “Zillow surfing” has become “especially popular among teenagers”

Zillow surfing is especially popular among teenagers. A TikTok meme over the summer consisted of users talking about knowing where the bathrooms were in their friend’s or crush’s house before ever visiting it because they had toured all of their classmates’ homes on Zillow. Many young people have extensive lists of saved homes and discuss and share listings with friends.

When life is miserable, people like to daydream about something better, and “Zillow surfing” allows them to do that.

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