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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Home Depot has been a proxy for the white-hot housing market.

What's going on: The company rode the coattails of the pandemic building boom — and just gave us a hint that it hasn't slowed down.

A fresh data point illuminates the boom: U.S. home prices soared in December at the fastest pace in six years — the latest sign of strong demand.

Details: Home Depot said Tuesday vinyl flooring, appliances and moldings drove sales at the end of last year.

  • Sales for DIY projects continued at a breakneck pace.
  • Professional builders' purchases of housing supplies jumped the most since the pandemic began.

Catch up quick: Home demand has soared, but supply is still tight — sending prices soaring.

  • Builders are racing to keep up with the demand for new homes.
  • Borrowing rates plummeted when the pandemic hit, enticing locked-down residents to seek out bigger or different homes.

The other side: As people spent more time in their homes, they put extra cash in them too, fueling a home-improvement frenzy.

What they're saying: "It took us 19 years ... to get the first $20 billion in total sales," but sales jumped by more than that in one year alone, Home Depot CEO Craig Menear told analysts today.

Go deeper

Feb 22, 2021 - Axios Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay's housing market has yet to cool off in 2021

Photo courtesy of Lauren Crowley at Sarasota Land and Homes LLC

The hot housing market has yet to cool off in 2021, with record home value growth in January, according to Zillow’s latest Market Report.

What's next: Zillow economists expect national home values to grow 10.1% in the next year. Existing home sales are expected to reach 7 million nationally in 2021, 24.8% more than in 2020.

FBI, Homeland Security warn of increasing threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says an unidentified group of extremists discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

17 mins ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.