NAC Blog:
The housing market in the age of COVID-19

Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action

Que onda mi gente?!

To say we are living in a historic time is an understatement. I urge you to take some time before you go to sleep or when you wake up every day to journal. We are living in what is perhaps one of the most pivotal moments of our lifetime. There will be the world before COVID-19, and the world after COVID-19. It is important that we document the world around us. Write down how you’re feeling, what’s happening inside your household, what’s happening in the news, how life as we know it is changing day by day, how businesses are adopting, what innovations are coming out of this, and how we are educating our kids. Take note of how our president, governors and political leaders are reacting to this crisis and document the unexpected heroes. All of these otherwise small things that you may not otherwise notice are slowly having a drastic impact on our world and these stories will be the history we will leave behind. Document it.

The State of the Economy

There is little doubt that we’re going into an international recession and we might already be in it. The question now is: will it be a short one, or will this last a while? What we do know is that this recession is a result of real economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the tools used during 2008 may not work this time around to turn the economy around.

No one can really predict what is going to happen but we can learn from our past mistakes and get ahead of problems. But to do so, I need your help.

One of the biggest misses of the 2008 economic crisis was the slow response to the avalanche of foreclosures that came after the market tanked. Rest assured that NAHREP will be at the forefront of advocating for a responsible and timely economic policy response. However, in order to do so, I need all of you to keep me posted regularly on what you are seeing in the market. For any of you who have emailed me in response to these blogs, you know that I respond quickly. That’s because your input is extremely important for us to be able to alert policymakers. Please send your stories and what you’re seeing on the ground, and alert me on any unexpected trends as you hear them at nlimon@nahrep.org.

A few developing stories and issues we’re currently following:

Rent and Mortgage Moratoriums. President Trump announced this week that they will temporarily suspend “all foreclosures and evictions” nationwide through the end of April. However, this will likely require an extension through at least July, if not later. We need to take measures to avoid people getting to this this point and to protect consumer credit scores given the current international pandemic.

E-signatures: E-closings in the mortgage industry have significantly lagged behind other industries. COVID-19 might speed up its implementation. While e-signatures are allowed in most states, disclosures like the promissory note still require a wet signature. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued a statement last week temporarily removing the requirement for face-to-face activities for the next 12 months. We could see many changes in this space in the near future.

Service Industry: With over 24 percent of Latinos in the leisure and hospitality industry and 19.9 in the services industry, the Latino community will be hard hit as layoffs start to happen in response to the pandemic. Many hotel workers are currently being laid off across the nation. Many questions remain: will all of these jobs come back? If so, when? Even after the worst of the pandemic passes, will people be more fearful of traveling? Will there be a lag?

Social Distancing and a New Real Estate Reality: I’ve heard stories of appraisers not wanting to inspect interiors, being afraid to touch anything or wanting the homeowners gone before going in. Buyers are afraid to sign anything in-person. To what extent will these constraints change the real estate market during this time? How will people and industries innovate? As the country hunkers down, will video showings take the place of in person viewings? If prices lower, will the market consist largely of investors?

Please share your thoughts and what you’re seeing! I will try my best to keep you updated as to how the government is responding to these market changes. Stay safe mi gente. I am sure that we will come out of this stronger than we came in. We are entrepreneurial and resilient. As immigrants, and the sons and daughters of immigrants, we know more than anyone what it is like to adapt. We got this.

Los quiero mucho.

About Noerena Limón

Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.

Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.