Dear MCAR member,

Please be aware the credit card processing service we use for association fees, including dues and lockboxes, is currently disabled for urgent maintenance and resolution of failed transaction issues. MCAR staff are working with the service provider to resolve this as quickly as possible. Checks are still accepted for dues paid by mail. Checks or cash may be accepted for curbside pickup appointments for lockboxes. Thank you for your patience with regard to billing inquiries at this time.

MCAR's mailing address:
201-A Calle Del Oaks Place, Del Rey Oaks, CA 93940

Please see the following update from the Department of Real Estate and the latest news and guidance from California Association of Realtors®.

All the most recent updates and upcoming C.A.R. webinars are available on MCAR's COVID-19 Information and Resources page .

The Sacramento and La Palma exam centers will reopen on Monday, June 1 st . Examinees can use  eLicensing  to schedule their exam dates.
Please visit the DRE  website  for updated information pertaining to COVID-19 related measures that are taking place at the exam centers.
C.A.R. Releases California Stage 2 Reopening Guidance, FAQs and Forms
C.A.R. has developed new Best Practices Guidelines for Real Estate During COVID-19 in response to the COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Real Estate Transactions issued earlier this month by the California Departments of Public Health and Industrial Relations. The Industry Guidance document details physical distancing and cleaning/disinfecting practices REALTORS® must follow when showing properties as California enters Stage 2 of reopening. Since the release of this document, C.A.R. has worked closely with these agencies to interpret and revise some of the restrictions in order to make them more manageable, while still focusing on the health and safety of our members, their clients and the community.

C.A.R.’s updated best practices guidelines are now available on  and in zipForm®. We urge you to read these guidelines carefully and to implement them at all times when showing properties. Always defer to the rules governing your local area, as cities and counties may have more stringent restrictions on real estate activity.
C.A.R. Update on Housing-related Legislative Bills 
Now, more than ever, C.A.R. is focused on protecting private property rights and homeownership. There are a number of housing-related bills currently being considered. Here is a quick summary of C.A.R.’s position on these bills:
  • AB 1905 (Chiu), limits Mortgage Interest Deduction: Opposed
  • AB 2501 (Limon), increases the costs of mortgages: Oppose
  • AB 828 (Ting), unfairly penalizes rental property owners: Oppose
  • SB 939 (Weiner), prevents commercial evictions with no protection for commercial owners: Oppose
  • AB 2463 (Wicks), limits debt that would force the sale of a principal residence: Support
C.A.R.’s Family Protection and Fairness in Property Tax Act Addresses the Housing Crisis
California’s housing market has taken a toll from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several months, presenting serious challenges to REALTORS® and homeowners across the state. And recent shutdowns have severely impacted the real estate industry and businesses, leaving tremendous uncertainty as the state transitions to reopening our communities.

With many factors at play making the housing crisis worse, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is leading efforts at the local level, in the State Legislature, and at the ballot box focused on addressing this crisis.

One effort is “The Family Home Protection and Fairness in Property Tax Act,” which provides housing relief for homeowners over the age of 55 by allowing them Proposition 13 tax portability. Seniors wishing to downsize or move closer to family can transfer their property tax base to another home anywhere within the state. This not only will help these homeowners find a more suitable home without facing an increase in their tax rate, it also opens up homes for young families.
Update on Coronavirus Market Impacts
This was the first week in several months where it was more difficult to find negative impacts on the economy and housing market than it was to find signs optimism. And yet, even as the economy begins to heal, it is important to temper that hope with the difficult truth: even if the economy continues to gradually reopen and the leading indicators continue to improve, the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic have been unprecedented and it will take time for us to recover. This is particularly true in a world where the new normal will likely look significantly different that our previous definition. On top of that, we will face both ongoing restrictions and a big learning curve on how to operate in a pre-vaccine world.
DRE Announces Updates on Exam Centers
The Dept. of Real Estate announced the Sacramento and La Palma exam centers will reopen on June 1. Examinees can use eLicensing to schedule their exam dates. Exam centers in San Diego and Fresno are canceling exams through June 14 and Oakland is canceling exams through June 30.

Examinees affected by the extended closures will be allowed to reschedule their canceled exam dates using DRE’s eLicensing system. Exam rescheduling fees will be waived for canceled exams.

Examinees with questions or concerns regarding canceled exams can contact DRE’s Licensing program at (877) 373-4542 or by email at  Ask.DR .
C.A.R. Adds New COVID Update Feature to Website
Beginning tomorrow, Thursday, May 28, visitors to the C.A.R. website will notice a new feature on the homepage which will display links to the most important information related to COVID. Although C.A.R. has an entire microsite dedicated to the pandemic, the Association wanted our primary website to also include relevant and timely COVID information in a different way.
We hope you will find this new feature of value and we look forward to continuing to keep you updated in a variety of ways.
New Tenant Screening with LeaseGuarantee Helps REALTORS® Close Leases Faster
New LeaseGuarantee, a security deposit alternative, is now offered with our newest tenant screening solution, powered by TenantAlert. Tenants can replace their security deposit and lower their move-in costs and landlords get coverage as high as $10,000 for damages, lost rent, and legal fees. This helps you qualify more tenants, reduce their move-in costs, and provide more protection to the landlord. Tenant screening starts at $29 and can be billed directly to prospective tenants, with LeaseGuarantee added starting at only $199/yr.
A weekly digest to keep you up to speed on the California coronavirus outbreak.

Before we get started on the news, please take a moment to catch up on everything C.A.R. has been working on this past week:
  • We have developed new Best Practices Guidelines for Real Estate During COVID-19 in response to the COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Real Estate Transactions issued earlier this month by the California Departments of Public Health and Industrial Relations. The Industry Guidance document details physical distancing and cleaning/disinfecting practices REALTORS® must follow when showing properties as California enters stage 2 of reopening. Since the release of this document, C.A.R. has worked closely with these agencies to interpret and revise some of the restrictions in order to make them more manageable, while still focusing on the health and safety of our members, their clients and the community.

  • The Best Practices Guidelines will be available in zipForm® later this week.

  • As of this morning, the following forms and resources are available for you in zipForm®:
  • Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration - Visitor
  • Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration - Seller
  • Coronavirus Lease/Rental Property Entry Advisory and Declaration
  • Listing Agreement Coronavirus Addendum or Amendment
  • Posted Rules for Entry
  • Best Practices Guidelines for Real Estate During COVID-19

  • Check out our list of upcoming webinars. Don’t worry if you missed a webinar you would have liked to see; we record our webinars and post them afterwards.

In This Issue:
  • The Economy & Your Finances: Unemployment sees an uptick
  • The Market & Industry: Mortgage applications and showings keep rising, but more declines expected
  • Around the State: Restrictions eased on retail, restaurants, places of worship (subject to county approval)
  • Health Check-Up: Hydroxychloroquine trial halted, anxiety over COVID-19 keeps patients from seeking treatment for other conditions

The Economy & Your Finances: Unemployment sees an uptick

The economic fallout from the pandemic has caused the national unemployment rate to balloon to  14.7 percent . Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, has warned that this downturn is  without modern precedent , which makes it difficult for experts to predict what will happen in the months to come.
In April, California’s unemployment nearly tripled to  15.5 percent  — its 2.3 million jobs lost represent over 11 percent of jobs losses nationwide. The Bay Area lost over  half a million jobs . In Los Angeles County, which has been especially hard-hit by tourism shutdowns, the unemployment rate has surged to  19.6 percent .
While California’s unemployment claims have been trending down for the past several weeks, the state is not out of the weeds just yet: Last week saw another  uptick in California workers filing first-time claims  for unemployment. And despite the Employment Development Department (EDD) hiring more staff,  many are still having trouble  getting through for help. The EDD is making some progress: It is now recalculating PUA benefit payments based on applicants’ stated 2019 income rather than just issuing minimum payments. PUA claimants don’t need to do anything. EDD will review the income stated in the application, reach out to the claimant if verification is needed, and will automatically (and retroactively) increase the payment to the correct amount. The maximum PUA payment is $450 per week (plus $600 additional federal payment for certain weeks) for those with a 2019 income of at least $46,696. See C.A.R.’s  PUA FAQ  for additional information
For recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, the U.S. Small Business Administration recently released its  Loan Forgiveness Application Form . C.A.R. has put together two step-by-step guides for filling out the application:  one for real estate firms and sole proprietors with employees , and the other  for independent contractors and sole proprietors without employees .
If you need assistance with your PPP Loan Forgiveness Application — or with one of the other financial relief programs — the COVID Relief Hotline is still available to you. Contact 213-351-8450 for 24/7 text support and live support between 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also email .
Sources: The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Business Journal, The Mercury News, ABC 7 News, U.S. Small Business Administration

The Market & Industry: Mortgage applications and showings keep rising, but more declines expected

Showing activity is now  starting to reach pre-crisis levels : While activity remains down 15 percent compared to this time last year, consistent growth has significantly reduced the deficit from roughly 75 percent one month after the shelter-in-place order went into effect. And as California’s economy begins to open up, fewer REALTORS® are reporting clients withdrawing their home offers or removing homes from the MLS. Prices have largely stayed stable, but a recent uptick in discounts on closed sales indicates sellers may start making more concessions to keep transactions on track.
With states beginning to reopen and  mortgage applications on the rise nationwide, some suspect the typical spring home buying season will see a  resurgence this summer . Demand has been strong enough that Redfin, which  furloughed 41 percent of its agents  and 7 percent of staff in early April, will be  bringing around 350 employees back to the office  ahead of schedule. Still, for the near future,  C.A.R is predicting more declines  into May, June and potentially July.
Across the nation, roughly  3.6 million Americans missed mortgage payments  in April; the delinquency rate has nearly doubled from 3.06 percent to 6.45 percent. And a  recent survey from the U.S. Census Bureau  found that one in five Americans reported they had slight or no confidence in their ability to pay their rent or mortgage in June. With  8.8 percent  of all mortgages now in forbearance, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has taken steps to ensure that  borrowers in forbearance on Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed mortgages can still take advantage of low interest rates  for purchasing a home or refinancing an existing home.
Many have theorized the pandemic will drive buyers out of cities and towards the less crowded suburbs; a  Zillow survey  earlier this month found that a majority of people who recently began working from home would consider moving. But  Zillow has not seen that shift  reflected in actual search results thus far, even with search traffic on the rise.
Sources: C.A.R. Research & Economics, CNBC, HousingWire, Inman News, Los Angeles Times, Mortgage Professional America, REALTOR® Magazine, Zillow Research

Around the State: Restrictions eased on retail, restaurants, places of worship (subject to county approval)

The United States is quickly approaching the landmark of  over 100,000 deaths from COVID-19. In California, as of yesterday at 9:46 p.m., cases numbered 99,809 and deaths had hit 3,825. California as a whole is now the fourth-largest outbreak in the country, behind New York (363,836), New Jersey (155,764) and Illinois (113,195).
As of this week, more than two-thirds of California counties have received approval from the Office of the Governor to  begin stage 2 of reopening their economies  per the  California Resilience Roadmap . On Monday, the California Health Department announced that  all retail stores can reopen  for in-person shopping under previously issued guidelines. And Governor Newsom announced  places of worship  can reopen provided they limit attendance to 25 percent of the building’s capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower. Newsom also eased the requirements counties need to meet for restaurants to reopen  dine-in service . These new guidelines are all subject to approval by the counties.
While Los Angeles County is not among those entering stage 2 right now, the state’s most populous county has achieved a positive step toward curbing the virus’ spread: Its COVID-19  transmission rate is now less than 1 . The transmission rate refers to the number of people each COVID-19 patient would go on to infect. When the pandemic first reached Los Angeles, the transmission rate in Los Angeles was calculated at over 3; if it stays below 1, the pandemic should decrease over time.
Even in counties that have reopened,  customers have been slow to return  to restaurants and shopping malls. Surges in cases continue to pop up, linked to events without proper social distancing like  family gatherings  and  church services .
Sources: Los Angeles Times, COVID-19 California Website, The Mercury News, CAL Matters, The San Francisco Chronicle

Health Check-Up: Hydroxychloroquine trial halted, anxiety over COVID-19 keeps patients from seeking treatment for other conditions

Citing safety concerns, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has halted part of a trial that involved patients being treated with hydroxychloroquine , a common malaria drug President Trump has advocated for. When used to treat COVID-19 patients, the drug can lead to  potentially deadly heart problems .
Even as hospitals start to reopen to elective surgeries, psychologists have found that  anxiety over the coronavirus has caused some patients to turn down treatment  for critical conditions. Doctors are encouraging those experiencing symptoms of urgent conditions like strokes and heart attacks to  go to the hospital  in spite of any hesitation.
If you want to learn more about the path to finding a vaccine for COVID-19, check  out The New York Times’ breakdown of the different approaches to creating vaccines  and how they work. And  National Geographic has a deep dive on the various unusual symptoms  of COVID-19 and why they are only emerging now.