Dear MCAR member,

Please join us in remembrance of Ron Bird.

As we hold those dear to us close to our hearts during hard times, please remember to care for yourselves and each other. When you are ready, please read the latest news and updates from C.A.R. and N.A.R. to help us all get back on track together.

It is with deep sadness that we relay the news that our dear friend and local photographer, Ron Bird, passed away in his sleep last night. Ron was part of our Real Estate community and will be missed by all of us.

Doug and Lisa Steiny
Sotheby’s International Realty-Rancho

Anti-Eviction Orders Challenged as Unconstitutional  
Two landlords filed a lawsuit earlier this week challenging California courts’ refusal to hear eviction proceedings. In its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency that oversees California’s courts declared that courts would not consider eviction cases for the duration of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state-of-emergency declaration plus 90 days. 
C.A.R. Offering Free “At Home with Diversity®” Certification  
C.A.R. is offering its members the opportunity to earn the NAR “At Home with Diversity” certification for free on June 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This educational opportunity presents a picture of the changing face of the real estate industry and teaches real estate professionals how they can increase their sensitivity and adaptability to future market trends. It addresses issues of diversity, fair housing, and cultural differences. Participants will learn practical skills and tools to expand business and effectively service all cultural groups. This course serves as an elective course for the CIPS designation.
Top Producer Virtual Event Recording Now Available  
Yesterday, C.A.R. held a virtual event convening top producers throughout the state who shared how they have kept their business moving during these uncertain times. The panelists discussed not only how they have been able to safely and successfully close transactions during the pandemic, but also how they’re keeping in touch with clients and the conversations they’ve been having regarding racial injustice and fair housing. A recording is available online now.
Update on Coronavirus Market Impacts  
This week, we observed more encouraging signs in the economy and the housing market. We also saw increasing signs that the pace of the recovery is slowing down some. Things continue to improve, but they are improving slightly slower. We should definitely be encouraged by the significant progress we have made in many areas since mid-April, particularly in the area of demand from homebuyers, but we should also plan for the recovery to play out over months rather than weeks with most forecasts not calling for full recovery until mid-2021 or later.
California Legislative Update  
Now more than ever C.A.R.’s Governmental Affairs Division is busy fighting for California REALTORS® and their clients. In addition to the efforts of C.A.R.’s professional advocates and policy staff, Key Contacts, who are REALTOR® volunteers appointed by C.A.R. to work with specific legislators, have been very active in lobbying members of the State Assembly and Senate on various bills and proposals that will dramatically impact your business. Read more for an update on these.
FHFA Extends Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoria   
The FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend their eviction and foreclosure moratoria until at least August 31, 2020. The foreclosure moratorium applies to single-family homes with mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The current moratorium was set to expire on June 30. 
C.A.R. Releases May Sales and Price Report
California home sales fell 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 for the second straight month, according to C.A.R.’s latest sales and price report.
Real estate continues streak as favorite investment
Source: Gallup
Real estate continues to rank at the top of the list of the best long-term investments for Americans, according to an annual poll from Gallup. About 35% of Americans said it was their favorite investment, which has been the case since 2013.

Meanwhile, Americans are less likely to view stocks or mutual funds as the best long-term investment, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty-one percent of Americans picked stocks as the best investment, down 6 percentage points from a year ago and at the lowest reading since Gallup started collecting such data in 2012.

Only about one in six Americans view savings accounts or CDs (17%) and gold (16%) as their favorite long-term investment.
Full impact of coronavirus pandemic hits California housing market in May
California home sales fell 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, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® said this week.

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% from 277,440 in April and down 41.4% 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%.

“The sharp sales drop in May was the steepest we’ve seen in some time, but there are encouraging signs that show the market is recovering and should continue to improve over the next few months,” said 2020 C.A.R. President Jeanne Radsick, a second-generation REALTOR ®  from Bakersfield, Calif. “With pending home sales up a stunning 67% in May, buyer demand is on the upswing amid record-low rates that are making monthly mortgage payments $300 less than a year ago.”
New pandemic concern: digital real estate scams
Source: Mercury News
Coronavirus-related health restrictions have created new hurdles for buyers, sellers, agents and lenders, forcing more business online. The rise of virtual real estate transactions means convenience coupled with new risks. Real estate professionals say they are ever vigilant about wire fraud and criminal hacks, but the growth in digital transactions may create easier paths for scammers, hackers and criminals.

The FBI estimated 11,300 people were victimized in online real estate schemes in 2018, a 17% jump from the previous year, according to the most recent data available. The losses totaled $150 million, primarily through hacks and fake or spoofed email schemes, the agency said.
The racial economic divide, from jobs to homeownership​​​
Source: NPR
African Americans are worse off than whites by almost every economic measure. And that divide has only deepened during the pandemic that's sent the country into its worst economic downturn in generations.

A survey by the Federal Reserve last year found that even in good times, African Americans are less able to pay their monthly bills than whites or Latinos. That's hardly surprising, since median income among African Americans is 41% lower than that of non-Hispanic whites.

Blacks are also 40% less likely to own their homes than whites — depriving many African American families of an opportunity to build wealth. The gap in homeownership is particularly stark in Minneapolis. A study by Zillow found black homeownership in the city lags more than 50 percentage points below the white rate.
Americans are eyeing homes in the suburbs
Source: Market Watch
A new study from found that Americans are showing a more pronounced interest suburban and rural areas as the housing market recovers from pandemic-induced shutdowns. Views of online home listings in May 2020 on grew by 13% compared to May 2019 for suburban ZIP codes, roughly double the rate of urban areas, researchers found.

Overall, suburban listing views in May 2020 exceeded those from a year ago. And while it’s not rare for views of suburban listings to outpace views of urban ones, reported that the discrepancy was the second largest since it began tracking this data in 2016.
Mortgage demand spikes to 11-year high
Source: CNBC
Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 4% last week from the previous week and were a remarkable 21% higher than one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. That was the ninth consecutive week of gains and the highest volume in more than 11 years. 

Buyers were also fueled by a new record low mortgage rate. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) decreased to 3.30% from 3.38%, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. 
After the passage of the PPP Flexibility Act in Congress, there are now new guidelines for applying for forgiveness on Paycheck Protection Program loans. Read about the changes.

The coronavirus has grounded many businesses, but the home improvement industry is thriving. Here are projects homeowners can take on safely.

What better time to upgrade to a smart office that meets your needs? Here are four products that will improve your ability to work from home.

Wondering if COVID-19 qualifies as a disability under the Fair Housing Act? Can you ask consumers to answer questions about their health before working with them? Check out NAR’s guidance on these issues.

Younger baby boomers searched for a median of 12 weeks — the longest of any age group — before making a purchase decision. They viewed a median of 10 homes and had a median expected homeownership tenure of 20 years.

The increase in new unemployment claims continues to slow as many people return to work.

Nationally, the homeownership rate peaked at 69.2% in 2004 Q2 and fell to a low of 62.9% in 2016 Q2. Only the Hispanic homeownership rate has surpassed the 2004 Q2 level. Read more about trends in buying demographics.

Check out NAR’s new TRID Closing Disclosures Guide, which answers questions about the separation of buyer and seller closing disclosures and what’s shared with real estate professionals.

In a letter to the White House, NAR asks for further relief to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19. Read the letter to find out the actions NAR believes will help REALTORS® and the industry remain a strong force in our economy.

A new executive order intends to accelerate infrastructure investments as part of an effort to strengthen the economy and get people back to work.

A new FHA mortgagee letter requires lenders to provide 20% indemnification for up to two years on borrowers who go into forbearance due to COVID 19.

Join NAR’s free REALTOR® Safety webinar June 23 at 1 p.m. CT. Carl Carter Jr., a REALTOR® and founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation, shares tips every real estate professional should implement to reduce their personal risk.
The real estate industry continually needs new ideas and innovation. Learn more about the 16 companies selected for the 2020 NAR REACH and REACH Commercial programs. Interested in getting involved? Email .

Cancel your unused subscriptions. Audit your home energy use. Compare insurance rates. Visit NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness to learn more about these topics and to find more tips and tools to help you save money.

Listen in as Monica Neubauer and her guest, Marvin Stone, discuss online and mobile closing methods in episode 41 of the Center for REALTOR® Development podcast. Download now, then share the episode with a friend to continue the learning.