Dear MCAR member,

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Please take some time to review the latest news and updates from C.A.R. and MLSListings, Inc.

A weekly digest to keep you up to speed on the California coronavirus outbreak.

Welcome to the 13 th  issue of the Coronavirus Weekly Recap newsletter. We hope you and your loved ones are healthy as we reach the halfway point in this week. Before we get started on the news, here’s some of what C.A.R. has been working on for you:
  • C.A.R.'s Research & Economics department has released its updated Economic & Housing Outlook, which touches on how COVID-19 is impacting the housing market, future outlooks and scenarios, and resources for members. The market update is split into four distinct sections: California as a whole, the Central Valley, the Bay Area and Southern California.

  • Want to learn more about how top producers are maintaining momentum during the pandemic? Register for a free virtual C.A.R. event: “How to Keep Business Moving During Uncertain Times: Top Producers Share Their Stories.” Moderated by C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer, this panel of experts will delve into how they have been able to safely and successfully close transactions over the last few months.

  • Check out this week’s webinars, and take a look back through the archives to find recordings of past webinars.

In This Issue:
  • The Economy & Your Finances: New modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program
  • The Market & Industry: Buyer interest rising, supply remains constrained
  • Around the State: Schools, bars and gyms to reopen even as cases rise
  • Health Check-Up: WHO recommends all individuals wear masks in shops, confined spaces

The Economy & Your Finances: New modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program

Last Friday, President Trump signed the  Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020  into law.  The bill  modifies the existing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from the U.S. Small Business Administration by:
  • Extending the period to use loan funds to obtain forgiveness to 24 weeks from eight weeks;
  • Lowering the amount recipients need to spend on payroll costs in order to obtain forgiveness from 75 percent to 60 percent;
  • Extending the deadline to rehire workers from June 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020 to avoid reduction in loan forgiveness; 
  • Allowing borrowers to achieve full forgiveness even if they do not fully restore their workforce by December 31, 2020 because of COVID-19 related operating restrictions; and
  • Allowing companies receiving loan forgiveness to defer payroll taxes.
It was  announced  that SBA, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, will promptly issue rules and guidance, a modified borrower application form, and a modified loan forgiveness application to implement the Act.

Despite predictions that unemployment would continue to rise in May, the U.S. jobless rate actually fell to  13.3 percent , down from 14.7 percent in April — although notably, the black unemployment rate did not follow this trend and instead rose to  16.8 percent . With states reopening, approximately  2.5 million  jobs have been added to the economy — a significant number of them in  homebuilding and remodeling . The surprising rebound and  what it means for the economy  as a whole has been highly debated among economists.
While nearly  2 million  Americans filed for unemployment the week before last, the rate of job loss is slowing — except in California, where first-time claims for unemployment  rose slightly  in the last week. Still, the overall numbers in the Golden State are trending downward.
An estimated  $67 billio n  of the unemployment benefits owed to Americans has yet to reach recipients, indicating that efforts to quickly ramp up these support programs have been lagging. In California,  1.75 million people  who applied for benefits during March and April still had not received their first payment by the end of April. While the  California Employment Development Department (EDD)  has reported it is hiring thousands more employees and enhancing its chat feature to more efficiently process claims, many remain frustrated with the service.
Studies are showing that the coronavirus outbreak in California is disproportionately impacting  poorer areas and communities of color . African Americans in particular are experiencing high  unemployment rates  and  death rates  compared with other groups. In this Los Angeles Times piece, health experts weigh in on  what needs to be done  to prevent COVID-19 from devastating black communities.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, HousingWire, Politico, The San Francisco Chronicle, The OC Register, U.S. Congress, CNBC, The Mercury News, The Sacramento Bee, Vox

The Market & Industry: Buyer interest rising, supply remains constrained

C.A.R. survey  recently showed more REALTORS® entering escrow and closing transactions, indicating that pending and closed sales should increase within the next week. And more REALTORS® are reporting making listing appointments and showing properties than during previous weeks of the pandemic. This pattern suggests more much-needed supply may be coming on the market soon; at the moment,  supply remains constrained .
Homebuyer interest, on the other hand,  has continued to rise , with California mortgage applications up about 5 percent from where they were a year ago. While buyers may expect to score significant discounts during the pandemic,  median prices in California have held fairly steady ; although more sellers appear to be making concessions, the concessions themselves seem to be shrinking in size.
During the week ending on June 2, COVID-19-related  forbearance volumes declined  by 34,000. This was the first decline since the pandemic began. Still, the total number of loans in forbearance remains high at  4.7 million  — almost 9 percent of all outstanding mortgages.
A recent study from the  Urban Policy Institute  outlines the ways in which sudden economic disasters increase racial disparities in homeownership. These patterns are already starting to play out in the wake of the coronavirus; for instance, nearly  28 percent  of black homeowners didn’t pay or deferred their mortgage payment in May, compared with 9 percent of white homeowners.
Sources: C.A.R. Research & Economics, HousingWire, CNBC, Inman News, Market Watch

Around the State: Schools, bars and gyms to reopen even as cases rise

California is gearing up to allow  sports, bars and gyms , among other businesses, to reopen as early as this Friday. Public health officials are stressing that just because certain businesses are reopening doesn’t mean the threat of contracting COVID-19 is gone, and patrons will need to continue to follow stringent social distancing guidelines. The Department of Public Health has also released  guidelines for the reopening of schools  that include measures for intensifying cleaning and ventilation and increasing distance both in and outside of the classroom. Some suggest the guidelines, which could see only half of a school’s students in physical attendance on any given day, pose  more questions   than they answer.
Even as  movie theaters  get the green light to reopen and  Napa Valley wineries  welcome back visitors,  California continues to see cases rise . While confirmed cases are slowing in the  Bay Area , in  Los Angeles  — which has taken a  less aggressive approach  to combatting the virus — the transmission rate is rising. As of yesterday at 9:55 p.m., cases in California numbered 137,057 and deaths had hit 4,749. California as a whole has risen to be the third-largest outbreak in the country, behind New York (379,482) and New Jersey (164,796).
Globally, COVID-19 deaths have surpassed  400,000 , with more than 6.9 million people infected. The United States has surpassed  110,000 deaths  and is nearing 2 million infected. But those numbers could have been much higher; a recent study found the early shutdown efforts in the United States prevented about  60 million  novel coronavirus cases.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, California Department of Public Health, The San Francisco Chronicle, The OC Register, The Wall Street Journal, The Mercury News, National Public Radio, Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, The Washington Post

Health Check-Up: WHO recommends all individuals wear masks in shops, confined spaces

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released  new guidance on wearing masks  to control the spread of COVID-19. The agency  now recommends  individuals wear cloth masks with at least three layers of fabric while on public transportation, in shops or in other confined spaces. This brings the WHO’s recommendations more closely in line with many countries that have been requiring or encouraging masks for months, including the United States. The Director-General of the WHO reiterated when announcing the new recommendations that masks can create a  false sense of security  and that a mask alone will not prevent you from contracting COVID-19.
The current target for having an  approved coronavirus vaccine  available to the public is the first quarter of 2021, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. There are at least  135 vaccines in development  right now, some of which are set to enter widespread  testing in humans  as early as July.
Until a vaccine becomes available, experts have weighed in on how we can reprogram ourselves to more safely engage in activities like  using the elevator having friends over  and  attending a public protest .
Sources: World Health Organization, Vox, CNBC, The San Diego Union-Tribune, National Public Radio, The New York Times
C.A.R. Making Donations to NAACP, Brave of Heart Fund
Last week, C.A.R. President Jeanne Radsick sent a letter to all members about C.A.R.’s values of inclusion and equality. As a community of professionals, C.A.R. is committed to working vigorously to defend policies that bring justice, opportunity and security for all. The Association started by making a donation to the NAACP Legal and Education Defense Fund and the Brave of Heart Fund. And with the issues of anti-racism at the forefront of everyone’s mind, C.A.R. will make changes to become stronger allies and to support the Black community.
How to Keep Business Moving During Uncertain Times: Top Producers Share Their Stories
C.A.R. is hosting a virtual event on Tuesday, June 16, with four top producing REALTORS®. Join top producers Ivan Estrada, Marty Rodriguez, Stephanie Vitacco and Ron Wynn as they share how they have been able to safely and successfully close transactions during the pandemic. This panel will be moderated by C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer. Register today for this free virtual event which is sure to sell out.
Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act Signed into Law
President Trump has signed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act into law, extending the amount of time Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipients have to spend their funds from eight weeks to 24 weeks. It also lowers the portion of funds borrowers must spend on payroll costs to 60 percent, down from 75 percent in order to qualify for forgiveness of the full PPP loan amount.

Other changes include:
  • Extending the program sunset to December 31, 2020
  • Extending the length of time businesses can use the loans from eight to 24 weeks, or until the end of the year (whichever is earlier) (note: businesses that have used it in eight weeks will not be penalized)
  • Makes PPP recipient businesses eligible for the delayed payment of employer payroll taxes in the CARES Act; and
  • Creates an exception to the rehire requirement for employees that were let go due to COVID-19 if a business can show that they are unable to return to normal operations due to compliance with federal government rules or guidelines based on maintaining sanitation, social distancing, or worker/customer safety requirements related to COVID-19.
Update on Coronavirus Market Impacts
The latest weekly data suggests that, although the worst is behind us, a v-shaped recovery does not appear to be in the cards for California. Virtually every indicator has made significant progress since mid-April, but the recent pace of growth has lost momentum. And even as the economy continues to reopen, many aspects of our daily and economic life face ongoing restrictions. On top of this major learning curve, the movement to eliminate racial and social injustice also creates uncertainty about immediate economic activity. Taken together, we see an economy and a housing market in California that has both come a long way and has a long way left to go.
NAR Releases “Rebuilding for Racial Equality” Video
As community leaders with powerful voices, REALTORS® can play a role not only in championing the Fair Housing Act but also demanding accountability and examining the implicit bias that can lead to unequal treatment—even when intentions are good. In the latest “Pivot in Place” video – a video series from NAR with NAR Leadership and industry experts sharing tips and updates on the real estate industry during this unprecedented time – 2020 NAR President Vince Malta addresses the REALTOR® commitment to equality, inclusion, restoring communities and impacting change.
Keep Rental Messaging Streamlined During COVID-19
Nervous about COVID-19 and its impact on the relationship with your clients? Now more than ever, RentSpree understands the importance of centralized communication while closing a rental. Learn how to keep messaging streamlined during the rental application process and which tools you can use, including RentSpree’s new messaging feature, to communicate better and close deals faster.
For stronger security and to prepare for the new, upcoming MLSListings Pro site, all MLSListings subscribers must upgrade their Pro site accounts, as  previously announced .
It's fast and simple to upgrade your account  right now  using  Easy Login with Social Media . But if you have queries, MLSListings compiled answers to Frequently Asked Questions, which you can read by  clicking here
If you'd like a refresher on how to use Easy Login with Social Media,  watch this video .  
Thank you,
MLSListings Inc.