BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The COVID-19 pandemic threw most industries into disarray, but the housing market saw an unexpected boom that might outlast the pandemic itself.

“We did triple the business this year as we did last year,” Chris Csontos, Vice President of Mutual Home Loans, said.

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Csontos said he saw a volume in 2020 that he has never seen before, and the momentum is continuing into 2021.

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Many of his clients refinanced to get some extra money in their pocket because interest rates were in the mid 2% range.

“Interest rates are the key driver, practically free money,” Csontos said.

Those low rates and free down payment assistance programs are also driving renters to think about buying.

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“Typically, if we find them the same type of home to purchase, they’ll pay several hundred less per month,” Laura Snyder, a realtor at Keller Williams, said.

Couple low rates with more buyers and add a delay in construction because of the pandemic, and you’re left with a ton of interested buyers with very few houses on the market, which is good for the seller.

“House prices are at the top of the market right now,” Csontos said.

Snyder said a drastic lifestyle change sent some new clients her way.

“Being stuck at home, you find all the flaws. So you’re a home office, you’re schooling at home and people are finding, gosh my house, is not suitable,” Csontos said.

This is now driving more home construction, because the experts say, if it’s built it’ll get sold.

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Rachael Cardin