I hope this finds you and your family safe and well during these unusual times. As we all continue to work through our new realities, I want to provide information and resources to those that might need it. Read below for a deeper dive into the current state of California’s economy and the impacts of COVID-19. 👇
A record 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March 14. Californians accounted for 2.7 million of those claims, amounting to one in every seven workers statewide. New research suggests that as much as 43 percent of California’s workforce is at high risk of unemployment, so the numbers aren’t likely to stop there.
Amazon, Walmart and many grocery stores have hired thousands of workers in recent weeks as shoppers order goods online and crowd into markets to stock up on food.
The government sector posted the largest job gain of the month: 5,200 positions, mostly caused by a rise in local government employment. Federal government also grew, boosted by the hiring of U.S. census takers.
The financial activities sector grew by 4,000 jobs, and the information sector, which includes some software jobs, gained 2,600. Payrolls in the education and health services sector grew by 1,200. Mining and logging gained 300 positions.
As unemployment has skyrocketed, the housing market has slowed — and it’s likely to remain slow as more jobs are lost. C.A.R.’s March sales report shows the market in California has begun to feel the effects of the virus, with existing, single-family home sales down 11.5 percent from February and 6.1 percent from March 2019.
Last week, a C.A.R. weekly poll found the percentage of California REALTORS® who have had a seller remove their property from the MLS rose by 54 percent, even with mortgage rates hovering near an all-time low. MLS data suggests that the crisis is negatively impacting supply more so than demand, further tightening the state’s already tight inventory.
At this point, home prices seem to be relatively unaffected: The percentage of active inventory that has reduced prices has not risen much in the past few weeks, though listing prices on a per square foot basis have inched down slightly. However, C.A.R. expects prices will soften as we move further into the pandemic. While new home construction slowed to a pace of 1.22 million units in March, down from 1.56 million units in February, construction rates remain higher today than they were at this time last year.
If you are a tenant, here is a list of local, state and federal eviction moratoria. In all cases where a moratorium has been imposed, a tenant’s obligation to pay rent has been deferred, not forgiven.
Last week, the California Department of Labor announced it will be opening applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to California independent contractors and the self-employed on April 28. California’s Employment Development Division (EDD), which will be administering the program, has stated that in order to get money into people’s hands as quickly as possible, payments will be issued in phases.
Many existing homeowners are seeking payment delays, with nearly 3 million borrowers already in forbearance nationwide. Financial experts are warning homeowners to carefully research their options before deciding to delay payments, as many borrowers would be responsible for making up all missing payments in a lump sum at the end of the program.
Meanwhile, the real estate industry continues to feel the effects of the weeks-long shutdown. The iBuying firm Opendoor laid off 35 percent of its workforce last week, and RE/MAX has enacted cost-cutting measures including a suspension of 401k matches and a hiring freeze.
Curious to know how this has impacted your neighborhood? Fill out the form below to get connected and I’d be happy to provide you with some research.
If you have any questions or need guidance on your situation, I would love to hear from you. 😉