By Eben Shapiro | Time
The housing market is one of the starkest examples of the disparate impacts of the pandemic on America’s citizens. In August, the Aspen Institute released a report that estimated 30 million to 40 million Americans were at risk of eviction in coming months “in the absence of robust and swift intervention.” Yet overall, the housing market is booming as affluent, dual-income households take advantage of historically low interest rates (2.85% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan) and newfound flexibility to work from home—and perhaps move into spacious new homes with easy access to the outdoors.
At Toll Brothers, one of the nation’s largest home builders, demand has been surging since May. For its most recent quarter, Toll Brothers reported 3,407 net signed home contracts, the highest for any quarter in the company’s 53-year history; contracts were up 68% compared to the same period a year ago. Customers are also spending heavily to customize their homes. The average in buyer upgrades in the quarter was $183,000, also the most in the company’s history, as buyers feather their new nests with home offices and gyms, complete with rubberized floors, full-length mirrored walls and built-in ballet barres.