Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops—rose 3.1% from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.00 million in January.
LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: National Issues in Focus
The Small Business Administration will begin processing PPP loan forgiveness applications. Businesses’ are eligible for the forgiveness program if they spent 60% or more of the loan on payroll, and for other uses such as rent, electric or mortgage payments. The PPP program saved many businesses from going under. Businesses should submit their applications to the small business lender they worked with to obtain the loan.
The second update has to do with the National Flood Insurance Program. Congress has reauthorized the program for one year. This will help to ensure that homes that require flood insurance can receive financing allowing for the sale of the home. NAR President Vince Malta stated, “NAR thanks lawmakers for including a one-year extension of the National Flood Insurance Program in this Continuing Resolution, but the job is not done.” Malta, a broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. went on to say, “As the 116th Congress nears its end, the House and Senate are missing a golden, bipartisan opportunity to move meaningful NFIP reform legislation authored by Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, which addresses the program’s viability and affordability. NAR urges Congress to make long-term reform a priority moving forward.” A five-year reauthorization would be the best thing long term for the program’s viability, but the one-year extension is better than a short term one.
Finally, Congress has still not approved aid for state and local governments. This will hold back the recovery as government workers will be laid off, or furloughed due to a shortage of funding. Congress must come to a deal, in order to avert a deeper economic meltdown. Vital services, such as trash collection, for instance, are now being reduced in New York City because of this.
The state must also resist any increase in transfer taxes. New York has the highest real estate taxes in the country. Any increase will further erode New York’s tax base. Stay tuned for updates.