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COVID-19 continues to slow New York housing market in May

Albany, NY – June 22, 2020 – The inability to do in-person showings and other COVID-19 related matters continued to impact the New York State housing market in May, according to the housing report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS®.

Adhering to NYS guidance, REALTORS®  were only able to show houses virtually during May, resulting in a 44.5 percent decrease in new listings – from 23,668 homes to 13,139 units in year-over-year comparisons. Pending sales also steeply declined 47.3 percent from 14,224 sales in May of 2019 compared to 7,500 sales during May 2020.

Closed sales declined 33.8 percent to 7,597 sales – down from 11,475 units in May 2019.

The median sales price remained even in May in year-over-year comparisons at $270,000. A positive for home sellers was the average sales price for May – $376,542  – increased 2.9 percent from $365,796 in May 2019.

Interest rates on a 30-year fixed rate mortgate have been hovering near all-time lows for more than four weeks at 3.3 percent, according to Freddie Mac, and are helping spur buyer interest across the state.

Months’ supply of inventory dropped 11.5 percent in May, from 6.1 months to 5.4.

Additional data is available at http://www.nysar.com/industry-resources/market-data.

Editor’s Note: All data is compiled from multiple listing services in the state of New York and the data include townhomes, condominiums and existing single-family homes.

New York State Housing Market hit hard by COVID-19

 Albany, NY – May 21, 2020 – As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the New York State housing market in April as new listings and pending sales both fell over 65 percent, according to the housing report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS®.

With guidance in place not allowing for in-person showings across the Empire State, new listings fell 68.4 percent in April from 20,600 to 6,507 in year-over-year comparisons. Pending sales also fell precipitously, down 66.6 percent from 12,825 sales in April of 2019 to 4,287 sales last month.

Closed sales fell as well, dropping 29.3 percent to 6,626 sales – down from 9,374 units in April 2019.

Median sales prices slipped slightly as well in April – falling 2.6 percent to $262,000 from $269,000 at this time last year. This is the first drop in the median sales price in year-over-year comparisons since January 2016, ending a streak of 50 consecutive months of escalating median sales prices.

What remained positive for home buyers were interest rates. The rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage in April fell to 3.31 percent, according to Freddie Mac. This is the lowest monthly average commitment rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage since Freddie Mac began tracking in 1971.

Months’ supply of inventory dropped 10.3 percent in April, from 5.8 months to 5.2.

Editor’s Note: All data is compiled from multiple listing services in the state of New York and the data include townhomes, condominiums and existing single-family homes.

 

COVID-19 slows New York State Housing Market

Albany, NY – April 21, 2020 – As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed what started as a robust 2020 New York State housing market as closed sales dropped nearly 15-percent, according to the housing report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS®.

Closed sales fell 14.8-percent in year-over-year comparisons from 8,695 units to 7,408 homes. First quarter closed sales are only down 0.8-percent year-to-date. This underscores the impact of COVID-19 on what was a strong housing market to start 2020. Pending sales fell as well, dropping from 11,448 homes to 9,036 – a decrease of 21.1-percent from March 2019.

New listings also fell, 25.4 percent to 14,005 homes – down from 18,778 units in March 2019.

Median sales prices continued to rise, escalating from $269,000 to $281,000 – a 4.1% increase in year over year totals. March marks the 50th consecutive month that the median sales price was up in year-over-year comparisons.

A good sign for home buyers, mortgage rates in March fell to the lowest rate since August 2016 to 3.45-percent on a 30-year fixed mortgage, according to Freddie Mac.

Months supply of inventory dropped 12.1-percent in March, from 5.8 months to 5.1.

Editor’s Note: All data is compiled from multiple listing services in the state of New York and the data include townhomes, condominiums and existing single-family homes.

Updated ESD Guidance

4/9/20 – ESD Guidance on Executive Order 2026, Section 14, as Amended April 9, 2020 at 8:00 am
Real estate services shall be conducted remotely for all transactions, including but not limited to title searches, appraisals, permitting, inspections, and the recordation, legal, financial and other services necessary to complete a transfer of real property; provided, however, that any services and parts therein may be conducted in-person only to the extent legally necessary and in accordance with appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols; and nothing within this provision should be construed to allow brokerage and branch offices to remain open to the general public (i.e. not clients).

COVID-19 Addendum to the Residential Purchase Contract

As part of the Statewide Forms Library initiative, NYSAR has developed the “COVID-19 ADDENDUM TO RESIDENTIAL PURCHASE CONTRACT” (HERE).  The addendum is an agreement between the Seller and Purchaser to permit certain extensions and the rights of the parties to cancel the contract in the event COVID-19 related issues make it impossible or improbable to close.  In the addendum, Seller and Purchaser agree that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is impacting real estate transactions, transaction related service providers and consumers.  There is a possibility that transaction related service providers such as lenders, title/abstract companies, appraisers, home inspectors and attorneys may be providing limited or no services as a result of COVID-19 issues.  COVID-19 issues may include, but are not limited to: emergencies declared by the government, travel restrictions, mandatory closures or reduction of staff at transaction related service providers, quarantine, exposure to or contraction of COVID-19.

The text of the addendum is simple and straight-forward.  It can be used an addendum to the offer being made by the Purchaser or after the contract was signed by both parties.  If the contract has already been signed by both parties, the addendum must be provided to and approved by the attorneys for the Seller and Purchaser.

Number 2 is OPTIONAL and must be checked if the Seller and Purchaser agree that if Purchaser loses their income due to a COVID-19 issue, either party may cancel the contract.

In all scenarios, the Purchaser is given the deposit back.

Please be advised, you may edit this form for your own use so long as you keep the NYSAR branding.

Certain terms may need to be changed depending on how your contract is drafted.  The following terms may be different in your contract and can be changed:

  • Residential Purchase Contract
  • Seller
  • Purchaser
  • Deposit

I would like to thank the Virginia Association of Realtors for providing a copy of their form to other state and local Realtor board counsel.  The NYSAR form is similar with some minor changes.

If you have questions about the form or any other licensed activity, please contact the NYSAR Legal Hotline.  The Legal Hotline is available Monday-Friday from 9:00am-4:00pm at 518-436-9727.  The Legal Hotline will remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Cuomo Passes New Emergency Paid Leave for COVID-19

3/19/20 – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill Wednesday, adopting sick leave programs providing paid time off for employees impacted by COVID-19 . You can view the bill HERE.

 Emergency paid sick leave for an employee under a order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity authorized to issue such an order due to COVID-19. These provisions are effective immediately. In this case, employers of 99 or less will be obligated to:

  • Notify employees of the availability of leave as described below;
  • To provide job protected leave as described below;
  • Provide documents required for that employee to apply for Paid Family Leave (PFL) and New York State Short Term Disability (DBL);
  • Employers of 100 or more only need to provide paid sick leave as required.

Provisions of the bill include:

  • Employers of 10 or fewer as of January 1, 2020 must provide unpaid sick time during an employee’s period of ordered quarantine or isolation, except those employers with net income of more than $1 million, which must provide five days of paid sick leave;
  • Employers of 11 to 99 must provide five days of paid sick leave;
  • Employers of 100 or more must provide up to fourteen days of paid sick leave;
  • Public employers must provide at least fourteen days of paid sick leave;
  • Benefits would not be available to employees deemed asymptomatic or not yet diagnosed with any medical condition and is physically able to work, through remote access or other means.

This leave is job protected but employees are not eligible to use this leave if the employee is returning from personal travel to one of the locations on the CDC travel advisory list. These employees would be able to use any available leave time or unpaid sick leave for the duration of the quarantine.

For employers of 99 employees or less, should an employee’s period of quarantine or isolation extend beyond available sick time, the employee would be able to apply for Paid Family Leave (PFL) and New York State Short Term Disability (DBL) concurrently. Benefit amounts would be a combination of payments from PFL and from DBL up to 100% of an employee’s average weekly wage for those employees earning up to $150,000 per year.

Additionally, there is no waiting period for the commencement of DBL payments under these circumstances. PFL benefits may also be used to care for a dependent minor child under such a mandatory quarantine of isolation order; this provision does not apply in cases where the child’s school is closed and requires daycare.

NY State of Health Announces Special Enrollment for Uninsured New Yorkers

NY State of Health and New York State Department of Financial Services Announces Special Enrollment Period for Uninsured New Yorkers, as Novel Coronavirus Cases Climb

Note: This is a press release sent from the NY State of Health

March 18, 2020 – NY State of Health, together with the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), announced that New York will make a Special Enrollment Period available to New Yorkers during which eligible individuals will be able to enroll in insurance coverage through NY State of Health, New York’s official health plan Marketplace, and directly through insurers. This step is being taken in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency to further protect the public health of New Yorkers. NY State of Health, DFS, and New York State health insurers are taking this action due to the exceptional nature of the public health emergency posed by the COVID-19 so that individuals do not avoid seeking testing or medical care for fear of cost. The open enrollment period for coverage in 2020 had previously ended on February 7, 2020.

Individuals who enroll in Qualified Health Plans through NY State of Health or directly through insurers between now and April 15, 2020, will have coverage effective starting April 1, 2020. Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs – Medicaid, Essential Plan, and Child Health Plus – can enroll year-round. As always, consumers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, by phone at 855.355.5777, and working with enrollment assistors.

As directed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all New York insurers will have waived cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing,

“With a pandemic spreading through the U.S., it’s important to ensure that healthcare is available to everyone who needs it,” said NY State of Health Executive Director, Donna Frescatore. “This special enrollment period will provide New Yorkers with another opportunity to sign up for high-quality, affordable health insurance.”

“Ensuring access to affordable and quality medical care for all New Yorkers is a top priority during this state of emergency,” said Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we have established a special enrollment period, providing uninsured New Yorkers an opportunity to select a New York State health insurance provider to access diagnostic testing and care they may need.”

For additional information on COVID-19
• The Department of Health provides public health information and guidance here: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/, and has implemented a Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
• The Centers for Disease Control’s website offers up to date information at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
• Gov. Cuomo has issued a directive regarding access and cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment available at: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-new-directive-requiring-new-york-insurers-waive-cost-sharing.
• The Department of Financial Services has issued a circular letter on COVID-19 for health insurers here: https://www.dfs.ny.gov/industry_guidance/circular_letters/cl2020_03.

Additionally, the National Association of REALTORS® published, Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS®.

NYSAR to Postpone In-person Educational Programs

March 17, 2020 – The coronavirus state of emergency has caused NYSAR to postpone in-person classroom educational programs scheduled between now and May 26. We apologize for any inconvenience, but we continue to offer valuable member benefits as we all attempt to make the best of the current situation.

One such effort is a NYSAR member-only benefit where we will offer GRI classes via live webinar at a greatly reduced fee of $25 per class. Each 7.5-hour GRI course will be offered in 2.5-hour segments over three consecutive business days. Please watch your email inbox for upcoming webinars as they are scheduled.

Class size will be limited to 20 registrants on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional classes may be added based on member needs.

NYSAR also offers a wide variety of online courses which carry NY CE credit, including three free courses. To view online education options, click here.

Classes scheduled between now and May 26 will be rescheduled based upon the status of the coronavirus state of emergency. NYSAR staff will contact those registered for these classes with the new dates. Registrants who are unable to attend on the new dates should call NYSAR at 800-239-4432 x 219 to discuss transferring to another class or to request a refund.

To further assist licensees, the Department of State will be emailing licensees who cannot complete their continuing education by their license renewal date with instructions on applying for a waiver of up to six months.

Though NYSAR staff members are working remotely, we plan to handle all inquiries within the next business day, however, we ask that you please be patient with us as we try to accommodate your requests.

Lobby Day 2020 Cancelled

March 17, 2020 – Due to our dedication to the health and safety of our members, NYSAR has decided to cancel its annual Lobby Day, which was scheduled for Tuesday, May 5. As a result, all related RPAC activities that were scheduled to be held on Monday, May 4 have also been cancelled.

NYSAR continues to be engaged with state lawmakers on our legislative matters. If and when there is a need for member engagement with state lawmakers, we will not hesitate to utilize our outreach capabilities via email.

NYSAR Offices to Close

March 16, 2020 – Based on guidance from the New York State Department of Health and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Association of REALTORS® is significantly reducing our staff presence at our Albany headquarters until further notice. The health and safety of our community remains our highest priority and we will continue to act with an abundance of caution as we navigate this rapidly evolving coronavirus situation.

All of our departments remain open for business, however, please understand that many employees will be working remotely and may be unable to respond to you as promptly as they normally would.

The best way to reach us is via email. Email addresses for the NYSAR staff can be found on NYSAR.com. If you are unsure of the correct person to contact, please email your request to [email protected] and it will be routed to the appropriate staff member. When emailing staff, please consider contacting only one person at a time to ensure the fastest response.

The Legal Hotline and Techline will remain open to assist members. You can access both member services by calling 518.436.9727. The Legal Hotline will continue to operate during their normal hours of Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Techline, which assists members with any computer, phone or tablet issues, is available Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can always be reached via email at [email protected].

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. We will update NYSAR members with any new developments.

NYSAR Educations Classes, Code of Ethics Training Postponed

March 13, 2020 – Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, NYSAR has decided to postpone all education classes in March, April and May. We will update membership with any developments via email and on our social media platforms. Where desired/possible, we will work with the local boards to deliver classes on-line.

Additionally, The NYSAR Code of Ethics & Professional Standards Hearing Procedures Training has been postponed. We will update members via email and on our social media platforms if the training is rescheduled.

January home sales spur optimism for 2020 New York State housing market

Albany, NY – February 21, 2020 – Closed sales and pending sales were up in January in year-over-year comparisons, fueling optimism for a robust 2020 housing market, according to the housing market report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS®.

Closed sales improved 4.1-percent to 9,204 units from 8,842 houses at the start of 2019. Pending sales were also up in year-over-year comparisons, escalating to 8,895 houses – a 5.6-percent increase over January 2019’s total of 8,421 homes.

The median sales price continued to appreciate as the calendar turned to 2020. The statewide median sales price was $300,000 – an increase of 9.1-percent from the January 2019 median of $275,000.

New listings were down to 14,370 homes – a 2.9-percent decrease from 14,806 homes in January of 2019.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage continues to be affordable, dropping to 3.62-percent in January according to Freddie Mac. Days on the market remained unchanged from January 2019 at 77 days.