By Lucia Mutikani
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. home sales surged to their highest level in nearly 14 years in August as the housing market continued to outperform the overall economy, but record high home prices could squeeze first-time buyers out of the market.
The report from the National Association of Realtors confirmed home sales had recovered after slumping when the economy almost ground to a halt as businesses were shuttered in mid-March in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Demand for housing is being fueled by record-low mortgage rates and a pandemic-fueled migration to suburbs and low-density areas in search of more spacious accommodation as many people work from home. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told a congressional panel on Tuesday that the economy has shown “marked improvement” since plunging into recession in February, though the path ahead remains uncertain.
“The housing market has continued its remarkable recovery