Homeownership As A Luxury Good? The Pandemic's Impact On The Housing Market

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A "For Sale" sign in front of a home. (Elaine Thompson/AP)
A "For Sale" sign in front of a home. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Is homeownership now a luxury? We talk to Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, and our favorite money ladies, Rana Foroohar and Michelle Singletary, about how the pandemic economy is impacting the American housing market.  


Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, a real estate brokerage. (@glennkelman)

Rana Foroohar, CNN global analyst. Financial Times global business columnist and associate editor. Author of "Don't Be Evil" and "Makers and Takers." (@RanaForoohar)

Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for the Washington Post. Author of "The 21 Day Financial Fast." Her column "The Color of Money" is syndicated in newspapers across the country. (@SingletaryM)

From The Reading List

New York Times: "Where Are Home Prices Rising the Most?" — "The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t just created massive unemployment and economic hardships for millions, it has also inflated real estate prices across the country."

Marketwatch: "Housing is a luxury? Here’s what the K-shaped recovery means for real estate" — "Housing IS the business cycle, it’s been said. So it may be fitting that a K-shaped recovery from the COVID-induced downturn would be accompanied by an increasingly unequal housing market. What’s less certain is what that will mean for the broader economy and markets."

CNBC: "The housing market stands at a tipping point after a stunningly successful year during the pandemic" — "No one could have predicted it. Not the economists, not the real estate agents, and especially not the nation’s homebuilders. But a pandemic caused an emotional run on housing unlike any other."

Associated Press: "U.S. home prices rise 10.1% in December, fastest since 2014" — "U.S. home prices surged at the fastest pace in nearly seven years in December, fueled by low mortgage rates and Americans moving from crowded urban areas to houses in the suburbs."

Forbes: "COVID-19 Set America’s Housing Market On Fire. That Could Alter U.S. Politics For A Generation" — "Thanks to COVID-19 Americans are on the move—again. In less than twelve months, panic selling, irrational buying, jittery markets, remote work, and the desire to get more space for less money in the middle of the ongoing pandemic have created one of the most frenzied and unpredictable real estate markets in a generation."

Washington Post: "One home, a lifetime of impact" — "In 1936, Tai Christensen’s great-grandmother, a housekeeper and widow in North Carolina with four sons, saved up $500 and bought a house at age 35. That decision, which changed the trajectory of her family’s finances for generations to come, wasn’t easy for a black woman facing racist housing policies."

The Atlantic: "‘This Is Unprecedented’: Why America’s Housing Market Has Never Been Weirder" — "If you think the U.S. housing market is behaving very, very strangely these days, that probably means you’re paying attention."

This program aired on March 15, 2021.


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Grace Tatter Producer, WBUR Podcasts
Grace Tatter is a producer for WBUR Podcasts.


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Meghna Chakrabarti Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.



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