Mortgage Roundup (3/25/20) – Closings, Private Property & Financial Aid

Good morning! Today is Wednesday, March 25. Global stocks surged after Congress and the White House reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus bill. The New York metro area became the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. Facebook says the coronavirus is crimping ad sales.

And in mortgage and housing news …

ASSISTANCE: A petition is asking federal and state lawmakers to provide financial aid to real estate agents who aren’t protected by the current stimulus bill. And the mortgage industry also lays out its casefor widespread coronavirus emergency relief.

CLOSURE MANDATES: Are realtors essential? It depends on where you live. 

ELECTRONIC ACCESS: Mortgage closings are at risk as the coronavirus shutters many title and recording offices.

REPORT: Sales of new single-family houses came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 765,000 for February – down from January but significantly higher than a year earlier.

PRIVATE PROPERTY: California became the first state to declare a right to commandeer private property to combat the spread of COVID-19. Other states and localities are considering similar emergency measures to take over hospital beds, and even hotel rooms, to quarantine or treat COVID-19 patients, and house vulnerable populations.

MLS FEES: After suspending open house displays, the Houston Association of Realtors will also waive third-quarter MLS fees totaling more than $4 million.

PROFITABLE: Independent mortgage bankers had their most profitable fourth quarter in seven years for originations, but the fallout from the coronavirus could upset the economics of the industry in the short term.

NEW LOWS: The Fed’s pledge to buy unlimited amounts of Treasuries and mortgage bonds may have the same effect as it had in 2008: new lows for home-loan rates.

EMERGENCY RELIEF: New York’s banking regulator is ordering emergency relief on mortgages and card fees.

REMOTE INSPECTIONS: Land Gorilla is launching remote home inspections to comply with social distancing. 

LAYOFFS: The fast-growing real estate company, Compass, is cutting its workforce 15 percent amid market uncertainty created by the coronavirus.