Dear MCAR member,

Please read the important announcements from NAR, DRE, and MLSListings, and the latest news recap from C.A.R.

As a reminder, the MCAR office is now staffed but closed to the public. Please call for assistance: (831) 393-8660.
Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8am - 5pm. Fridays, 8am - 4pm.


What can you do to affect change and help build more inclusive communities where everyone lives free of discrimination? You can start by engaging in an open, honest conversation about racial equality at your brokerage, NAR President Vince Malta says in  Part II  of his latest  “Pivot in Place”  video, “Rebuilding for Racial Equality.” Not only should you make a commitment to  diversity  and  fair housing , but you also can take other steps—such as partnering with local black-owned businesses—to intentionally  promote a message of antihate  in your community.

Learn about  overriding hidden bias  through a fascinating new training video from NAR. And don’t forget to look back at  Part I  of Malta’s video, released last week, in which he says this moment in our nation’s history is a “new beginning” and an opportunity for REALTORS® to reaffirm the pledge that the real estate business is “open for all.”

In an effort to support positive change, NAR has launched the  Community Rebuilding Grant , which provides emergency funding to REALTOR® associations that want to help clean up and repair property damaged that accompanied otherwise peaceful protests. And following through on its principle that homeownership is one of the key paths toward equality, NAR has relaunched its  Housing Opportunity Toolkit , which provides guidance and resources to help REALTORS® address affordability challenges in their community.
The Department of Real Estate (DRE) issued a News Release relating to Governor Gavin Newsom’s  Executive Order N-69-20  issued June 15, 2020, which impacts DRE applicants and licensees. In relation to this new order, DRE has posted new FAQs on its website. The News Release can be accessed on DRE’s  website .
Each month, Aculist analyzes real estate property data for the five MLSListings counties (Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties) and publishes a set of complimentary Market Data Reports for our subscribers.
This month's Market Data Reports are now available for  free download
Please feel free to share these Market Data Reports with others who would also find them valuable. 
 Also, if you missed last week's episode of MLSListings Live, or want to see it again to get an advanced look at two exciting new features we are releasing this week (Create Your Own Login and the Pro Support Community site), you can watch the recording here:   
A weekly digest to keep you up to speed on the California coronavirus outbreak.

June 17, 2020

Welcome to the 14 th  issue of the Coronavirus Weekly Recap newsletter. Before we get started on this week’s news, we want to make sure you’re aware of what C.A.R. has been working on:
  • Yesterday, C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer moderated a panel of top-producing California REALTORS® who shared how they have been able to maintain business momentum during the pandemic. If you weren’t able to tune in live, you can watch the recording here.

  • Check our upcoming slate of webinars designed to help you conduct business and secure financial relief during the pandemic. You can also find an archive of previous webinars to peruse.

In This Issue:
  • The Economy & Your Finances: High unemployment projected to last throughout the year
  • The Market & Industry: Homebuying sentiment and demand increases
  • Around the State: Cases keep rising as California reopens
  • Health Check-Up: CDC releases new tips for daily activities

The Economy & Your Finances: High unemployment projected to last throughout the year

More than  1.5 million  Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week — the lowest weekly number since the crisis began, but still far above normal, pre-pandemic levels. While the total number of people receiving unemployment aid has  fallen slightly , indicating that some are returning to jobs at restaurants and retailers as those businesses reopen, the new unemployment applications indicate Americans are still losing jobs even with many states well into the reopening process.
Currently, the additional $600-per-week enhancement to unemployment benefits some 30 million Americans are receiving is  set to end in late July . National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow has reiterated his intention to end the extra benefit in July as planned, and the Trump administration has indicated its preference for replacing it with a  cash bonus  for those who go back to work. Lawmakers in Congress are  divided  on how to proceed.
The Federal Reserve expects the year to close out with an unemployment rate of  9.3 percent  and remain elevated for some time after, only falling to 5.5 percent by 2022. To protect the economy, the Fed is likely to  keep interest rates low  for several years, anticipating a slow recovery. It’s not just the United States economy looking at a long uphill battle — a new report from the World Bank expects the overall  global economy to shrink by 5.2 percent this year , which would plunge the world into the deepest recession since the end of World War II.
Last Friday, the Small Business Administration updated the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Borrower Application Form to comply with the new PPP Flexibility Act. The new form can be found  here .
On Monday, the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program was reopened to all eligible small businesses and self-employed individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The online application is available at the  SBA website .
Sources: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Inman News, National Public Radio, Politico, CNBC, Treasury Department, Small Business Administration

The Market & Industry: Homebuying sentiment and demand increases

As expected, California  home sales fell in May to the lowest level since the Great Recession  as the housing market suffered the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic in May and remained below 300,000 units for the second straight month. At the same time, pending sales increased 67.2% from April as the incremental relaxation of shelter-in-place orders coupled with record low mortgage rates boosted interest in housing. According to C.A.R.’s monthly  California Housing Sentiment Index , the percentage of consumers who thought it was a good time to buy a home increased to 32 percent last month, a high for the series that began capturing data in September 2018.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 238,740 units in May. May’s sales total was down 13.9 percent from 277,440 in April and down 41.4 percent from a year ago, when 407,330 homes were sold on an annualized basis. The year-to-year drop was the largest since November 2007, contributing to a year-to-date sales drop of 12.9 percent.
The pace of growth for California pending home sales has continued to tick up, but at particularly slow speeds:  under 3 percent  in three of the four past weeks. And the number of new homes added to the MLS has been essentially flat for the past month, suggesting sluggish sales to come in the next few weeks. Nationwide, according to Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman,  homebuying demand is up 25 percent  from pre-pandemic levels.
Despite the pandemic, the Mortgage Bankers Association says mortgage applications are up  13 percent  from a year ago. Last Thursday, the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a  new record low  of 2.97 percent.
While there are currently  4.66 million  borrowers in forbearance nationwide — representing 8.8 percent of all active mortgages — that number has been shrinking for the last two weeks. New data from Black Knight Analytics revealed that the majority of homeowners in forbearance have  at least 20 percent equity in their properties , which may provide a protective cushion.
Sources: C.A.R. Research & Economics, Redfin, REALTOR® Magazine, CNBC, Black Knight Analytics

Around the State: Cases keep rising as California reopens

Last Friday, businesses including gyms, museums, day camps, hotels and pro-league arenas (without audiences) were  allowed to reopen in California . Governor Newsom has  defended the decision  to push forward with reopening despite the seven-day average of new cases continuing to climb in California — he insists the state is  ready for a spike  and is already close to conducting the targeted 60,000 COVID-19 tests per day.
As of last night at 10 p.m., cases numbered 159,183 and deaths had hit 5,202. With California having passed the milestone of 5,000 COVID-19 deaths, some  health experts are concerned  the reopening will cause another surge in hospitalizations that could overwhelm the system. Last Thursday,  Oregon had to pause its reopening  following a noticeable increase in new infections. California remains the third largest outbreak — behind New York and New Jersey — in the country. Right now,  21 states  are seeing increases in their average daily new coronavirus cases.
Health officials continue to reiterate that the only way to avoid a new wave of infections is to follow strict safety rules, including  wearing face masks . But across the state,  many Californians are pushing back  against mandatory face-coverings, with  Orange County  recently reversing a rule that required people to wear masks in public.
Meanwhile, although the music festivals  Coachella and Stagecoach  have been officially canceled for 2020,  Yosemite National Park  reopens tomorrow, and  Disneyland  plans to reopen for its 65 th  anniversary on July 17. On Monday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the  Academy Awards will be postponed  for two months due to the pandemic.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Politico, CAL Matters, The Washington Post, CNN, The Orange County Register, Desert Sun, The Mercury News, National Public Radio

Health Check-Up: CDC releases new tips for daily activities

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new  tips for resuming some daily activities as safely as possible . The CDC has stressed the guidelines are “ not intended to endorse any particular type of event .” Tips include:
  • Wear a cloth face covering when doing any in-person exchanges at a bank and unable to stay at least 6 feet apart from other people – and make sure that bank employees and other people inside the bank are also wearing cloth face coverings.
  • Before you go to a restaurant, call and ask if all staff are wearing cloth face coverings while at work.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when entering and exiting social gatherings. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • When at the gym, ensure equipment is clean and disinfected. Wipe down machines and equipment with disinfecting wipes and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol before using machines.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO)  walked back its earlier assertion  that asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 is rare. And a recent study from Japan suggests many of the country’s coronavirus clusters that originated outside hospitals came from people under 40 years old who were  not experiencing symptoms .
On Monday, the  Food and Drug Administration  (FDA) revoked emergency authorization of  chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine , two drugs previously touted by President Trump.
If you need to get tested, the State of California has created a  searchable map of testing sites . If you have attended a recent protest and are unsure of what steps to take to minimize yours and others’ risk,  see this guide  from The San Francisco Chronicle.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Los Angeles Times, Food and Drug Administration, NBC News, The New York Times, CNN, State of California