Dear MCAR member,

Please take some time to review the new best practices, updated documents, and market news from C.A.R. We also have tech support updates and resources for you from Tech Help Line.

Please note, the MCAR office and staff phone line will be closed Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.

Please be safe and have a happy Memorial Day weekend!

NEW: Best Practices Guidelines, FAQs and Forms for Stage 2 Reopening of California
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 available here  and will be available in zipForm® next week. 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.
To further clarify California’s Industry Guidance document, we also have released two new FAQs — one on  showing properties , and the other on  reopening offices  — as well as a legal  Quick Guide on Complying with Industry Guidance Showing Rules . We have also released a  “Posted Rules for Entry” (C.A.R. Document PRE)  you can use to comply with the guidance that all agents must post rules, complete with pictograms, outside a property that all viewing the property must agree to before entering. These resources will provide you with a blueprint for efficiently incorporating the Industry Guidance into your real estate practice.
And next week, keep an eye out for the following forms and resources 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

Please continue to check the  C.A.R. coronavirus microsite  regularly for the latest information on how best to navigate practicing real estate during these challenging times.

As always, members requiring legal assistance should contact the C.A.R. Member Legal Hotline .
What a challenging year it has been for the whole world! We hope that you and yours have remained healthy and well. As we struggle together to get through this pandemic, we remind you that your Tech Helpline remains operational. As always, should you or youneed to contact us, please call (888) 784-5404.

Top Help Article:

As a reminder, Tech Helpline will be closed on
  • Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day
  • Saturday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day

California housing market feels full brunt of coronavirus outbreak in April
California home sales dropped sharply in April from both the previous month and year as the housing market began to feel the full impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the state’s stay-at-home order, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). 

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 277,440 units in April, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2020 if sales maintained the April pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

“As expected, California home sales experienced the worst month-to-month sales decline in more than four decades as the coronavirus pandemic prompted stay-at-home orders, which kept both buyers and sellers on the sidelines,” said 2020 C.A.R. President Jeanne Radsick, a second-generation REALTOR® from Bakersfield, Calif. “While some economic activity will resume as the state gradually reopens, the housing market is expected to remain sluggish for the next couple of months as potential market participants deal with the impact of stay-in-place restrictions.”
What homebuyers and sellers can expect in 2020
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many buyers and sellers to think twice about buying, selling, and potentially even moving, home sales are expected to rebound in the late summer and fall, according to a revised 2020 forecast by

Nationwide, sales of existing homes are expected to drop about 15 percent in 2020 compared with the previous year. is anticipating 4.5 million sales this year, compared with 5.34 million last year. The company's economic team had originally forecast, late last year, that 5.25 million sales would take place in 2020.
Bidding wars in a pandemic?
Source: CNBC
As states begin to loosen social distancing restrictions, homebuyers are rushing to open houses again, and market competition is rising due to a lack of homes for sale.

The coronavirus pandemic caused a historic drop in housing inventory that was already inadequate. New listings had dropped by half during the second week of April, compared with a year ago, according to real estate brokerage Redfin. Weak supply and growing demand is now causing a surge in bidding wars, especially for homes priced below $1 million.
Mortgage forbearance could make it harder for some to get a loan in the future
Homeowners who request relief from their payments on their federally funded mortgages amid the coronavirus pandemic won't be penalized for it in the long run, the federal government said.

Earlier in March, the federal government assured homeowners with these loans that they wouldn't lose their homes, incur fees, or have their credit scores damaged if they couldn't make their payments—as long as they entered a lender-approved forbearance program. Typically, forbearances are set in three-month periods for up to 12 months.

But that forbearance has been showing up on these borrowers' credit reports, making it nearly impossible for many of them to refinance their mortgages into lower monthly payments or qualify for a loan on a new property, say if they get a job in another city. Traditionally, owners who resorted to a forbearance program had to make up the skipped payments and then wait a year before applying for a new home loan.
COVID-19 sparks rise in rental fraud
Source: Snappt
Application fraud is growing in residential rental markets since the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new analysis from Snappt, a real estate tech and fraud detection company. Applicant fraud has risen 9 percent month-over-month since the pandemic, with some inflating their income to qualify for rental or disguising the source of their income. Snappt says that it’s likely a response to the economic climate as well as recent changes to local and state eviction moratoriums.

Two thirds—or 66 percent—of property managers surveyed by Snappt say they’ve fallen victim to fraudulent rental applications.
Weekly mortgage applications point to remarkable homebuying recovery
Source: CNBC
Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 6 percent last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Purchase volume was just 1.5 percent lower than a year ago, a rather stunning recovery from just six weeks ago, when purchase volume was down 35 percent annually.

As states reopen, so are open houses, and buyers have been coming out in force. Record low mortgage rates, combined with strong pent-up demand from before the pandemic and a new desire to leave urban downtowns due to the pandemic, are driving buyers back to the housing market. Whether this is pent-up demand or a long-term trend remains to be seen.