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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Existing home sales jumped by 20.7% in June over the prior month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said in a report released Wednesday.

Why it matter: It's the largest recorded monthly increase since 1968, when NAR began collecting data on single-family houses, and comes amid mass unemployment and an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • House sales overall have dipped compared to last year, the association says, with an 11.3% drop in purchases compared to June 2019.

What's happening: The surge is due to "apartment renters seeking more space, young families moving to the suburbs, and wealthy city dwellers looking for second homes," the WSJ reports.

  • Most existing home sales took place in the West and the South last month, per the WSJ.
  • “The housing market is hot, red hot,” said Lawrence Yun, chief NAR economist. “As we are coming out of the lockdown, we see this backlog of buyers…trying to take advantage of the record-low mortgage rates.”

Flashback: The median price of existing homes jumped to a record high in April, per NAR.

What's next: "Now, the major question is whether June’s strong sales pace can continue this summer, or if home sales will slow as pent-up demand falls off and unemployment remains high," the WSJ's Nicole Friedman writes.

Go deeper: Rising home sales show Americans are looking past the coronavirus

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 1, 2020 - Economy & Business

Midwest manufacturing survey soars

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

Unexpectedly strong U.S. data may have helped pull the stock market out of its funk over the past few days.

Driving the news: Following Tuesday’s stronger-than-expected consumer confidence report from the Conference Board, ADP reported the biggest increase in private-sector job growth in three months Wednesday and a measure of business conditions in the Midwest rose to the highest level since the end of 2018.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Assassination in Iran sets stage for tense final 50 days of Trump

The funeral ceremony in Tehran. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry via Getty

Iranian leaders are weighing their response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the father of Iran’s military nuclear program, who was given a state funeral Monday in Tehran.

The big picture: Iran has accused Israel of carrying out Friday’s attack, but senior leaders have suggested that they’ll choose patience over an immediate escalation that could play into the hands of the Israelis and the outgoing Trump administration.