The U.S. housing market withstood the test of a global health and economic crisis in 2020 as people adjusted their behaviors and made real estate purchases, a trend that will continue to move markets in the years to come, according to The Agency, a real estate brokerage headquartered in Los Angeles.
In the 22 markets The Agency does business in, the general theme of 2020 was a strong buyer’s demand coupled with a shortage of inventory, according to the brokerage’s inaugural annual report, the 2020 Red Paper, released Wednesday.
“The real estate market slowed down a lot in the first half of 2020, then we saw a change of human behaviors: people making lifestyle changes,” said Mauricio Umansky, founder and CEO of The Agency. “They seized the opportunity to become first-time homeowners, trade for bigger places, and add vacation homes to their collection.”
An energized second half of the year made up for the lackluster first half, Mr. Umansky said. The brokerage saw its annual sales grow 30% to an estimated $6.5 billion in 2020, according to Mr. Umansky.
One of the busiest real estate markets in 2020 was Malibu, California, according to the report. The coastal city registered 255 single-family home sales, increasing 104% year-over-year. The median sales price rose 8% from 2019 to $3.6 million, while inventory was down 54% year-over-year to 6.5 months—the time it takes to sell all the units on the market at the current pace.
This is the first time Malibu shifted from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market in more than 10 years, according to the report.
Another busy market was Aspen, Colorado, where single-family home sales increased 81% year-over-year to 161, while the median prices rose 54% from a year ago to $9.25 million. Active listings in the snow resort fell 75% year-over-year to 94, according to the report.
“In 2020, we saw a huge wave of migration into suburbs in California, Arizona, Colorado, and Florida, a trend that will continue in the year ahead and for quite some time in the future,” Mr. Umansky said.