LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: September Legislative Update Where We Are Now in the Era of COVID-19

Philip Weiden | September 2020

The cases of COVID-19 continue to rise and fall from month to month. The economic crisis also continues as the unemployment rate remains above 10%. The MTA is in dire straits and considering eliminating train service west of the Hudson. A total of 20% cuts will be made by state agencies if an aid package from the federal government is not passed by Congress and forthcoming. The housing market, our local bright spot, is currently doing well in the suburbs, which is helping keep the economy afloat.

Currently the House and Senate are at a stalemate over a new COVID relief bill, which is a must have in order for vital services to remain available. Some suggest we may need less, but there is agreement among both parties that New York and the tri state area states need financial aid to get through the next fiscal year.

One of the issues of importance to Realtors and other 1099 practitioners is an extension of pandemic unemployment assistance. This provided an extra $600 a week on top of the current unemployment assistance which Realtors that had lost their source of income were able to access. The $600 component has expired.

Another issue that will be a big help to home owners is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue to buy qualified mortgages in forbearance, which will help homeowners to stay afloat. Forbearance allows home owners to stop paying their mortgage for a period of time if they’ve lost their job. There will also be no fees associated with the new round of purchases which will help provide financial stability to the markets and to the consumer.

Stay tuned for updates on these important issues.

Philip Weiden
Legislative Affairs columnist Philip Weiden is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.