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New Federal Stimulus Package Passed by Congress

NAR’s Federal Advocacy team has been working closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure the interests of REALTORS®, their families, consumers, and the entire real estate industry are protected in any federal action in response to COVID-19.

On December 21, Congress passed a COVID-relief package, which also included an Omnibus spending bill for FY21, and some tax extenders. Below is a summary of the major provisions of that bill impacting REALTORS®:

COVID-RELATED PROVISIONS

Unemployment Assistance

Extends the maximum number of weeks individuals may receive unemployment benefits, from 39 weeks to 50 weeks.
Extends all unemployment assistance, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation from December 26, 2020- March 14, 2021.
Limits payment of retroactive PUA benefits to weeks of unemployment after December 1, 2020, and PUA requests end on March 14, 2021.
Eligible individuals may receive PUA benefits until April 5, 2021 as long as the individual has not reached his or her maximum number of weeks of unemployment.
Extends Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) at $300 per week for 10 weeks. This provides supplemental unemployment benefits for individuals receiving PUA or regular unemployment compensation for weeks after December 26, 2020 until March 14, 2021.
Extends Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) for a maximum of 24 weeks for eligible individuals.
Phases out the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and ends the program on April 5, 2021.
Extends interest-free loans to states to keep their unemployment insurance trust funds running.
Reimburses states at 50 percent for the first week of compensable regular unemployment benefits for states with no waiting period.
Provides individuals seeking unemployment benefits with the right to appeal any state determination or redetermination regarding rights to PUA.
Provides a repayment waiver for individuals who received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), but who were not entitled to receive PUA, if the PUA payment was the fault of the individual and repayment would be “contrary to equity or good conscience.” State labor agencies must make all individual determinations regarding one’s repayment or waiver status.
Requires individuals to continue to re-certify weekly with the state that the individual’s loss of income is due to a Covid-related reason or issue and the individual is unemployed for a such week.
Adds additional program measures requiring individuals seeking unemployment to provide documentation of earnings and employment to state agencies as a mechanism for states to verify the identity of individuals seeking unemployment benefits.
Imposes “return to work” reporting requirements for states to provide a way for employers to report when someone turns down a job and to notify claimants of the requirement to accept suitable work, unless there is a good cause for refusal.

Paycheck Protection Program

Appropriates $284.45 billion for PPP loans and $20 billion for EIDL Grants.
Certain eligible businesses may receive second-draws of PPP loans of up to $2 million: 300 employees or fewer (or meets alternative SBA size standards) and saw at least a 25% drop in gross receipts in 2020 to a comparable quarter in 2019.
The maximum loan amount a business can get (for both first- and second-draw PPP loans) is $10 million within 90 days.
PPP borrowers who receive $150,000 or less in PPP loan money may submit a one-page forgiveness form online certifying their compliance with the program requirements.
Extends the deadline for PPP “covered periods” (the 8- or 24-week period from which a borrower has to use their PPP funds) through September 30, 2021.
Expands allowable expenditures of PPP funds to cover purchasing PPE for employees;
501©(6) organizations can access PPP funds if they have 300 employees or fewer, do not receive more than 15% of their receipts from lobbying activities and lobbying activities do not comprise more than 15% of their activities, and the cost of the lobbying activities of the organization did not exceed $1,000,000 during the most recent tax year.
PPP funds cannot be used for lobbying activities of any kind.
Repeals the requirement that borrowers who receive both an EIDL advance grant and a PPP loan deduct the forgiven amount of the EIDL grant from the forgivable amount of their PPP loan.

PPP Tax Forgiveness

Allows for deductibility of business expenses paid for with forgiven PPP loans.

Eviction Moratorium & Rental Assistance

Provides $25b through September 30, 2022 for rental assistance. The monies will be allocated to states through the Department of Treasury.
States allocation will be based on population, no state will receive less than $200 million.
Allows landlords to apply for funds on behalf of tenants.
Includes payments for rent in arrears as well as utilities and “and other expenses related to housing.”
States should prioritize families with incomes below 50% of area median income (but no set % of funds distributed is required).
Rental assistance will not be included in recipient’s income for federal tax purposes.
Extends CDC moratorium through January 31, 2021.

State and Local Funding

Extend by one year (until Dec. 31, 2021) the availability of funds provided to states and localities by the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act.

Individual Stimulus Payments

Provides for one-time direct payments of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000, as well as an extra $600 per eligible child dependent.

Broadband Expansion

Provides $7 billion for broadband internet access: $285 million for connecting minority communities.
$3.2 Billion for an Emergency Broadband Benefit for Low-Income Americans
$300 Million to Promote Broadband Expansion to Unserved Americans
$65 Million for the development of new, more accurate, and more granular broadband maps

Tax Provisions (related to COVID)

The Employee Retention Tax Credit is modified by:
Increasing the credit rate from 50% to 70% of qualified wages.
The eligibility is expanded by reducing the year-over-year gross receipts decline from 50% to 20%.
Increasing the limit on per-employee creditable wages from $10K per year to $10K per quarter.
Increasing the 100-employee delineation to 500 or fewer employees.
Allowing businesses with PPP loans to qualify.
Extending the credit through June 30, 2021.
Extends payroll tax credits for paid sick and family leave enacted in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act through March 31, 2021.
Tax Extender Provisions

The exclusion from income for mortgage debt forgiveness is extended for five years (through 2025), but the maximum amount is reduced from $2 million to $750,000.
The energy-efficient commercial buildings deduction is extended permanently, its efficiency standards are updated, and the deduction rates are indexed for inflation.
The energy investment tax credit for solar and residential energy-efficient property tax credit is extended for two years (through 2023).
The mortgage insurance premium deduction is extended for one year (through 2021).
The energy efficient homes credit is extended for one year (through 2021).
The nonbusiness energy tax credit (for qualified energy efficiency improvements) is extended for one year (through 2021).

Other Provisions

Provides for the tax deduction of 100% of business meals (up from 50%) for 2021 and 2022.
Corrects a technical problem in depreciating residential rental housing – under certain circumstances, some real estate businesses were forced to depreciate residential rental housing over 40 years instead of 30 if they elected out of a limitation of interest deductibility under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The recovery period is corrected to 30 years in the Act.
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is enhanced by the creation of a permanent 4% floor for the portion of the LIHTC that is typically used for rehabilitation of older rental housing and the preservation of subsidized rental developments.
Requires carbon monoxide detectors in all federally-assisted rental housing.
Provides for $49.6 billion for HUD’s budget, which is $561 million above the 2020 enacted level. This bill includes:
$152 million for the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity and its grant programs, $7 million above the 2020 enacted level:
Funding for HUD’s fair housing grants, activities, and assistance, increased by $2.3 million to $72.5 million.
Funding for HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity staffing and expenses increased by $4.8 million to $79.8 million.
$25.8 billion for Tenant-based Rental Assistance, $1.9 billion above the 2020 enacted level; and $13.5 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance, $895 million above the 2020 enacted level.
$40 million for HUD/VA Supportive Housing for Homeless Veterans (same as 2020).
$43 million for new incremental vouchers for homeless individuals and families.
$200 million for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, $25 million above the 2020 enacted level.
$3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants, $50 million above the 2020 enacted level.
$77.5 million for Housing Counseling, $25 million above the 2020 enacted level.
Reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which funds various critical water infrastructure projects in communities nationwide, including water management, flood control, drinking water and resilience. In turn, these projects make communities safer and support economic stability and growth.
Authorizes various renewable energy, energy efficiency and other energy projects, which will make energy more abundant, affordable, provide jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Bryan Greene
Vice President, Policy Advocacy
National Association of REALTORS
Washington, DC 20001

NC REALTORS® Launches Virtual Legislative Visits in DC



NCR Launches FPC Congressional Visits Portal NEWS ALERT – The visit with Congressman Ted Budd is scheduled for April 28, 2021 at 9:00 AM. This is an in-person event. Please select the link below to access the FPC Congressional Meeting portal. Once on the page, please scroll down to the end of the page to access Congressman Budd’s registration information.

NCR is pleased to launch the FPC Legislative Meeting portal. This will be your one-stop shop for all information related to the FPC virtual Congressional visits scheduled from April 28 – June 30.

The portal features photos of North Carolina’s Congressional Senate and House members. Registration links and other important event information will be at the bottom of each photo. Not sure about your US House of Representative? We have your covered, select, “Find Your US House of Representative” link on the portal, which will allow you to check this information.

Please note, not all visits have been scheduled so please check the site often for updates. We will also provide reminders of the updates in the Advocate.

While most of these meetings will be held virtually, some meetings will be held in-person. Due to COVID restrictions, the in-person meetings will follow safety guidelines and attendance will be limited.

To access the portal please select the follow link: 2021 FPC Virtual Legislative Visits.

If you have any questions, please contact Kristin Nash.
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Another Economic Win for the City of Sanford

ABZENA SELECTS SANFORD FOR NEW FACILITY

From the Sanford Area Growth Alliance

Sanford, NC (April 13, 2021) – Abzena, a life-sciences group headquartered in San Diego, California with other sites across the US and Europe, will open a new facility in Lee County, Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The company plans to locate in the 117,000 square foot Shell Building #2 in Central Carolina Enterprise Park and will create 325 jobs at an average annual salary of more than $60,000. The company will be investing $213M in Sanford.

Abzena, a contract manufacturer, collaborates with companies and academic groups all over the world, including most of the top 20 biopharmaceutical companies. Multiple antibodies, which have been created using Abzena’s technologies, are currently being progressed through clinical development by their licensees.

Abzena’s range of services focus on antibody discovery and immunology assessment. The Lee County facility will accommodate phase 3 and commercial manufacturing, augmenting cGMP manufacturing capacity for mammalian biologics. The company also has a strong background in synthetic organic chemistry and extensive experience of custom synthesis and bioconjugation.

Abzena was created through the incorporation of Antitope, PacificGMP, PolyTherics, The Chemistry Research Solution (TCRS) and Warwick Effect Polymers.

Raeford – Public Hearings on Proposed 191 Residential Housing Project

The News-Journal

Subdivision behind West Hoke Middle up for Raeford leaders’ consideration

MARCH 24, 202100

Subdivision behind West Hoke Middle up for Raeford leaders’ consideration
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[Image by Ken MacDonald: A map of the proposed subdivision expansion.]

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer •

A proposal to build up to 191 houses on about 85 acres of land behind West Hoke Middle School will go before Raeford decision-makers this month.

This is the second time a plan for the property has been brought up for public hearing, but the plans are somewhat different than they were in 2019 when a crowd of Raeford residents raised concerns about it.

Forge Investment Group LLC, representing property owners JNM Investments and Robert Wright, seeks to build up to 191 single-family homes in the area of Thomas Drive, also known as Raeford Village. The developer has requested preliminary subdivision approval for the project, an extension known as Raeford Commons.

The city will hold two public hearings on the matter with the first scheduled for the Raeford Planning Board meeting Monday, March 29 at 5:15 p.m.; and the second to be held at the Raeford City Council meeting Monday, April 5 at 7 p.m.

Both meetings will take place at City Hall on Main Street in Raeford. Interested citizens are welcome to attend the meetings and express their views and opinions on the project.

The current subdivision approval request is different from the plans of a few years ago. In 2019 the property owners applied to rezone the property from Residential-12 to Residential-8, to allow for smaller lots of a minimum 8,000 square feet. The original intent was to build up to 270 homes on the property.

A crowd of city residents spoke against the development at a Raeford City Council meeting in February 2019, raising concerns about drainage and flooding in existing housing developments in the area. Residents were also worried about impacts to their property value, increased traffic and more noise in their neighborhoods.

At the time the city council could only vote on the rezoning, not make any decisions regarding the development itself. The council ultimately voted 4-1 to send the matter back to the Raeford Planning Board.

Today the land is still zoned R-12 with minimum lot sizes of 12,000 square feet, and the developer plans to proceed leaving the R-12 zoning as it is, according to a public notice from the city. The project apparently also dropped about 80 homes from the earlier version of the plan, reducing the density of the proposed housing development.

If approved, the subdivision would be on city water and sewer service. The city would receive $94,750 total in subdivision fees for the project at $500 per lot, plus a $250 application fee.

The proposed development would be located in the general area behind Raeford Evangelical Methodist Church and Palmer Green Apartments, bordered by Rogers Street.

From the National Association of REALTORS®, Moratorium Extended

NAR continues work to ensure rental assistance meets needs of housing providers View this email online
March 29, 2021
 
What the Moratorium Means for You
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced today that it is extending its nationwide eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. 

The order was put into place Sept. 4, 2020, but has been challenged in court across numerous states and localities in the months since. In addition to the court challenges, the National Association of REALTORS® has fought successfully for federal rental assistance—and will continue to advocate to ensure the moratorium doesn’t lead to a spiraling crisis for housing providers and tenants.

“NAR helped secured $25 billion in 2020 and another $21.55 billion earlier this month in federal rental assistance funding, which can be paid directly to property owners,” says Shannon McGahn, chief advocacy officer of NAR. “This was critical to averting a multifamily real estate crisis, as many of our nation’s housing providers are mom-and-pop operations. Our focus now turns to ensuring there is not just enough funding but also a smooth implementation of rental assistance while the various challenges to eviction bans work their way through the courts.”

Under the terms of the CDC order, residents must declare that they have pursued all appropriate government assistance; met certain income and employment requirements; and are using best efforts to make timely partial payments, among other qualifications. Today’s announcement expands the order to include people “who are confirmed to have, who have been exposed to, or who might have been exposed to COVID-19 and take reasonable precautions to spread the disease.”

Covered persons must now provide their housing provider with a copy of a signed declaration form stating that they meet the requirements to be a “covered person.”
 
As with previous CDC orders, property owners may still evict tenants due to criminal activity, damaging property, or for violating other contractual obligations.

“Rental assistance averted two crises—one for mom-and-pop property owners who did not have a reprieve from their bills and relied on their rental income and one for tenants who would have been responsible for months of back rent when the eviction moratoriums expired,” McGahn says. “We must continue to look for ways to protect tenants and property owners from further financial turmoil while ensuring housing in America remains safe and stable for decades to come.”
  Read the CDC order.
 Read NAR’s Coronavirus: Housing Provider FAQs.
 See all NAR resources related to COVID-19 at nar.realtor/coronavirus.

NC Representative Files Bill to Protect Private Property Rights for Landowners

North Carolina House of
Representatives
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Marshall Conrad
Date: March 23, 2021
REP. JOHN SZOKA FILES LEGISLATION TO PROTECT AND ENHANCE PROPERTY RIGHTS FOR FAMILY LANDOWNERS
RALEIGH, N.C. – State Representatives John Szoka (R-Cumberland), Kyle Hall (R-Stokes), Donna White (R-Johnston) and Brian Turner (D-Buncombe) filed HB367, the “Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act”, a bill that protects the private property rights of families who own land as tenants in common and ensures that these family landowners have access to federal funding for disaster recovery and conservation improvements on their land. The bill provides due process protections for these family landowners and helps keep their farms and forests intact and profitable.
Rep. Szoka the primary sponsor of the legislation said, “For too long, many family landowners in North Carolina have not been able to maximize the value of their land, while also missing out on federal cost share programs that boost agricultural productivity and wildlife outcomes. It’s long past overdue that we support these families with the commonsense protections and due process found in the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act.”
Zach Wallace, Policy Manager at Audubon North Carolina, a state office of the National Audubon Society stated, “We thank Representative Szoka for his leadership to protect family farms and forests and ensure that family landowners can access federal funding to improve wildlife habitat on their properties.”

Background: “Heirs’ property” is family-owned land passed down through generations and owned by many family members with an undivided interest in the land. This ownership setup makes it difficult for families to maximize the value and profitably of their land and leaves them vulnerable to involuntary land loss. The Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act is a model bill established by the Uniform Laws Commission that helps address these problems and has been passed in 17 states including Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia. The bill protects heirs’ family farms and other properties by supporting the rights of heirs to keep their land intact and ensuring that family members receive fair market value when their land is sold. The 2018 federal Farm Bill included provisions that make it
easier for heirs’ families in states that have enacted the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act to access federal funding for land improvements that enhance agricultural productivity, wildlife habitat, and water quality improvements.

The bill is supported by a broad coalition of organizations including state conservation groups, land trusts, family land loss organizations, North Carolina Realtors, members of the NC Bar Association, and academic partners

Sanford City Council Approves New 131 Home Subdivision

Sanford City Council approved plans for a new subdivision called The Glen at Cool Springs. The planned subdivision will provide 131 new single residential homes on 53.5 acres. The project is located west of Cool Springs Road.

There are conditions in the subdivision. The minimum square foot of the house will be 2,200 and must include two garages, brick or stone on front façade, asphalt shingle roofs and cement driveways.

A petition against the project was submitted with 175 signatures. Councilmen Chas Post and Byron Buckels voted in opposition.