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Data: ATTOM Data Solutions; Chart: Axios Visuals

People who sold a median-priced home or condo last year made a typical profit of $68,843, the highest figure since at least 2005, according to real estate data provider ATTOM Data Solutions.

Why it matters: While homeownership is still elusive for Americans on bottom income rungs, it's proving to be a slot machine jackpot for the "haves," whose properties have grown more attractive thanks to pandemic lifestyle changes.

Driving the news: An ATTOM report released today found that profits for home sellers shot up last year in more than 90% of U.S. housing markets — and the median home price increased 12.8% to an all-time high of $266,250.

  • The big cities with the loftiest price hikes were Milwaukee (up 15.3%), Memphis (15.1%), Phoenix (14.9%), Birmingham, Ala. (13.7%) and Seattle (12.9%).
  • Home prices reached new peaks in 97% of the metro areas ATTOM analyzed, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston.
  • The places with the smallest price gains were Worcester, Mass. (up 1.9%), Harrisburg, Pa. (2%), Pittsburgh (3.3%) and Boston (3.5%).

"In the annals of history, there will be few years recorded as better for sellers and more challenging for buyers,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM.

Where it stands: While it's well known that the pandemic whipped the housing market into a frenzy — with rampant bidding wars and not enough inventory — what we didn't know was just how lucrative things were for sellers.

  • Profits for them were the highest since at least 2005, when ATTOM started keeping records.
  • The gain on a typical sale was $68,843, up from $53,700 in 2019 and $48,500 in 2018.
  • This gain represented a 34.7% return on investment compared with the original purchase price — up from 29.4% in 2019 and 27.2% in 2018.

Details: Homeownership tenure also hit a national record, with people who sold their homes in the fourth quarter of 2020 having owned their property an average of 8.33 years, up from 7.98 years in the previous quarter and 7.96 years in the fourth quarter of 2019.

  • Cash sales were down. All-cash purchases represented 23.5% of single-family home and condo sales in 2020, ATTOM said — the lowest level since 2007.
  • Distressed sales hit a 15-year low. Foreclosures and bank-owned sales represented 7.8% of the market — less than a quarter of the 2011 peak.

Of note: The National Association of Realtors reported similar trends last week, saying that existing-home sales reached 5.64 million in 2020, up 5.6% from 2019 "and the most since before the Great Recession."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

Apple raked in $111 billion in revenue in a single quarter

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Big Tech had a strong start to earnings season, as the S&P 500's heavy hitters reported Wednesday after market close.

What happened: Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple had its strongest quarter ever, raking in $111.4 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, far outpacing expectations.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.

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