The number of existing-home sales increased 20.7% in June from May, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which tracks real estate data. The jump is the largest increase since NAR began tracking such data in 1968 but sales are still behind traditional annual numbers.

“The sales recovery is strong, as buyers were eager to purchase homes and properties that they had been eyeing during the shutdown,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “This revitalization looks to be sustainable for many months ahead as long as mortgage rates remain low and job gains continue.”

The rise in home sales comes after three months of declines as states were shut down due to the coronavirus, but is still 11.3% lower annually, NAR said.

The sales increase measures closings for contracts that were signed in late April and May, which may have been higher had there been a stronger inventory of homes for sale. At the end of June, there were 1.57 million homes for sale, a decrease of 18.2% from a year earlier, NAR said.

“Home prices rose during the lockdown and could rise even further due to heavy buyer competition and a significant shortage of supply,” Yun said.

The median home transaction price rose 3.5% annually to $295,300.

Regional sales also increased with the Northeast seeing a 4.3% increase month-to-month with the Midwest reaching a 1.1% increase while the South saw a 26% surge, and the West jumped 31.9%, NARS said.

real estate
A real estate sign advertising a home "Under Contract" is pictured in Vienna, Virginia, in this file photo taken Oct. 20, 2014. Millennials are expected to buy and rent more homes as the economy recovers and they leave their parents' basements. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files