Many families were caught financially unprepared with the sudden onset of the pandemic. What seemed foreign and far away became domestic and close to home. The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on March 11, and President Donald Trump announced a national emergency on March 13. Shelter-in-place directives proliferated across many communities and open houses canceled. The once-promising 2020 spring home-buying season, possibly the best since before the Great Recession, was slowed to a snail’s speed. The U.S. unemployment rate spiked from a 50-year low of 3.5% in February to an 80-year high of 14.7% in April.
The speed of the housing recovery from April’s trough has been impressive. The rebound was supported by accommodative fiscal and monetary policy. The sudden loss of income triggered by the pandemic was partly muted by an income tax refund for eligible taxpayers, enhanced unemployment insurance payments for laid-off workers, and small business