Pros Bet on Post-Pandemic Rebound, Survey Finds – According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Economic Pulse Flash Survey, the spring housing market will be slower than normal due to stay-at-home orders by many states and municipalities to control the outbreak of COVID-19. But the majority of real estate professionals see the slowdown as temporary and are optimistic that a turnaround will occur once social distancing measures are lifted. Nearly six of 10 REALTORS® recently surveyed reported buyers were delaying home purchases for a couple of months. Similarly, 57% of real estate professionals said sellers were delaying home sales. “Home sales will decline this spring season because of unique economic and social consequences resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, but much of the activity looks to reappear later in the year,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Home prices will remain stable because of a pandemic-induced reduction in inventory coupled with less immediate concerns over foreclosures.”
Source and link to the full article: National Association of REALTORS®
HUD Announces Extra Relief for Borrowers With FHA-Insured Mortgages – Based on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s announcement recently, the Federal Housing Administration will offer a tailored set of mortgage relief options to those with FHA-insured mortgages who are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and who are unable to make their payments. Mortgage servicers may extend deferred or reduced payment options to FHA borrowers facing financial hardship for six months, and also extend options beyond that to an additional six months of forbearance, if requested by eligible borrowers. The FHA guidelines are part of the stimulus package that President Donald Trump signed into law on March 27th, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. That law requires banks to extend to borrowers with federally backed mortgages up to 12 months of forbearance if facing a coronavirus-related financial hardship.
Source and link to the full article: “HUD Announces Additional Relief for FHA-Insured Mortgagees,” National Mortgage Professional (April 2, 2020) and “FHA Rolls Out New Mortgage Relief Options Amid Coronavirus Outbreak,” HousingWire (April 2, 2020)
Homeland Security Declares Real Estate ‘Essential’ – According to the Department of Homeland Security, federal guidance has included real estate in a list of essential services that are deemed critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. State and local officials, however, have been issuing guidelines that could prevent normal business operations for real estate professionals in some areas. Those local mandates should take precedence over federal guidance, experts advise. Where real estate services are continuing, in modified forms, brokerages are cautioning their agents to act responsibly and to practice safe social distancing in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Under the issued Homeland Security guidance, “residential and commercial real services” are included on a 15-page list of essential services. These cover settlement services and government offices that conduct title searches, notaries, and mortgage and recording services, as well as construction. The advisory letter was created by the Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency.
Source and link to the full article: “Homeland Security deems Real Estate an Essential Service,” Florida REALTORS® (2020) and CISA.gov
Americans Are Still Optimistic About Buying – Based on a new survey by Point2 Homes, cities may be putting more social distancing measures in place to control the spread of COVID-19, but physical distance is not lessening consumers’ views on buying a home in the future. The survey showed that home buyer sentiment remains resilient despite the global pandemic. Point2 Homes surveyed 2,900 visitors to its site from March 23 to 26 to learn their views on the short- and long-term impact the coronavirus will have on their home search. Researchers found the 45 to 54 age group is the most optimistic about buying at this time. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they are still looking to buy a home, regardless of the outbreak. Respondents over age 65, on the other hand, showed more reluctance. Twenty-seven percent of respondents over the age of 65 said they have halted any actions in purchasing a new home at this time.
Source and link to the full article: “Flash Survey Homebuyer Sentiment: U.S. Still Optimistic Despite Outbreak,” Point2Homes (March 26, 2020)