Realtor Dona Frank Federico is always on the phone. 

"My husband says the phone is glued to my ear," she said before meeting with a home seller near Saratoga Lake. "He's probably right."

What You Need To Know

  • The real estate market is thriving in part on low interest rates created in response to the pandemic.

  • Saratoga Springs realtor Dona Frank Federico says she's never been busier.

  • Existing home sales increased by more than 20 percent in June.

  • But the market can be fickle. The housing market collapsed in the 2007-08 recession.

She takes a personal touch with her work. Often people end up being friends with Dona after home is bought or sold. 

But that personal touch has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, with mask wearing and hand sanitizer a must. 

"The challenge is just making sure you know who you are arounnd and asking all the right questions," she said.  

But believe it or not, Dona has never been busier. She works in the highly competitive Saratoga Springs real estate market. That's been one of the few bright spots of the upstate New York economy. 

National existing home sales rose more than 20 percent in June. That's because interest rates haven't been lower in years. It's made easier to borrow money and buy a house. 

The coronavirus pandemic has created economic chaos across the country, leading to skyrocketing unemployment.

And yet the real estate industry has been thriving. That's driven in large part by those low interest rates, but also pent up demand and the likelihood that a lot of people just want to find ways of social distancing and move to rural areas now. 

Dona knows what it's like to work in an industry that's been devastated by a recession. She got her real estate license back in 2006.

A year later: The housing market collapsed. Credit markets froze up and demand for homebuying fell. 

But ultimately Dona stayed in real estate. Now she's offering up that slice of the American dream and finding people places to live as our homes become a refuge during the pandemic.