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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

City of Fayetteville Hosting Housing Discussion

Public opinions welcome during Virtual Housing Discussion

City of Fayetteville leaders invite residents to participate in a virtual discussion about affordable housing. The event will happen on the Zoom platform Saturday, Jan. 30 at 10 a.m. Visit https://www.fayettevillenc.gov/FayAffordableHousing for the link to join. If you do not have internet access, please use a phone number listed in the link to join. The event will begin with a presentation on affordable housing and small group discussions will follow. The event is free and no registration is required. 
 
City staff members hope to hear from the general public, residents of affordable housing, seniors, youth, housing developers, the business community, homeless advocates, and others. Your thoughts on cost of living, housing variety, potential barriers, accessibility and social issues related to housing are welcome. Discussion topics may include lived experiences in affordable, subsidized or public housing. Feedback expressed during the event will become part of a comprehensive City-led housing study. The Fayetteville City Council will eventually hear results from the study.
 
Representatives from the following groups will listen in on the session:

  • City of Fayetteville Departments (including Economic and Community Development)
  • Fayetteville City Council
  • Mid-Carolina Council of Governments

City staff members and partners want to identify strategies to improve the availability and quality of housing within the City of Fayetteville. Please help and share this message on your multi-media platforms. Call 910-433-1590 on weekdays with questions, prior to the event.

City of Fayetteville Announces Fiber Optic Partnership

January 25, 2021 | Volume 1, Issue 80 | FayettevilleNC.gov

MetroNet and the City of Fayetteville Announce Partnership to Build 100% Fiber Optic Network
MetroNet and the City of Fayetteville will bring 100% fiber optic internet, television and phone services to businesses and residents in the Fayetteville region, marking MetroNet’s first deployment in North Carolina. Indiana-based MetroNet will spend more than $70 million on the project, which will service Fayetteville, the towns of Hope Mills, Linden, Wade, Stedman, Godwin, Eastover, Falcon, Spring Lake, Vander and much of unincorporated Cumberland County, as well as portions of Hoke County, such as the communities of Raeford and Rockfish.

Amid COVID-19, the community’s need for increased broadband access has become even more apparent, with virtual learning and remote work at the forefront. MetroNet’s high-speed fiber internet will increase technological capabilities throughout the county.

MetroNet offers businesses and residents state-of-the-art, fiber optic networks connected directly to their homes and businesses. The fast-growing company is known for its reliable, high-speed internet friendly service, and fair pricing with no long-term contracts.

Projects of this size typically take approximately two years. In new MetroNet markets, residents will receive communication by mail about construction activity in their neighborhood 30 days prior to starting, and the company provides additional messaging, such as yard signs, to let residents know when the temporary construction process is beginning in their neighborhood.

Those who would like to learn more about the construction process can visit construction.metronetinc.com to see progress throughout their community. The company will have a MetroNet storefront located in Fayetteville to serve as the command center for customer service and sales. Customers will be able to visit the store to speak with customer service representatives and sign up for services.

Additionally, MetroNet plans to hire local market management positions, sales and customer service professionals, and service technicians to support the Fayetteville area. For those interested in joining the MetroNet team, visit metronetinc.com/careers to search available positions and submit applications.

City of Sanford Approves Annexation of New Residential Development

Residents protest Cool Springs development
By Jasmine Gallup [email protected]

An ongoing debate about residential development in Sanford drew state Rep. John Sauls to a city council meeting Tuesday, to argue against the construction of a new neighborhood near his home.

Sauls, who lives in Sanford’s Westlake Downs neighborhood, was among dozens of other residents concerned about the impact the development, Glen at Cool Springs, would have on traffic, property values and the character of the area.

If approved, the neighborhood would consist of 131 new houses west of Cool Springs Road between Southern Road and Wellington Drive, according to plans. Unlike the nearby neighborhoods Westlake Downs and Brownstone Village, the Glen at Cool Springs would have smaller lots with less green space.

Sauls said his primary concern about the development was the impact it would have on traffic through Cambridge Drive, which would become an entrance to the neighborhood. Sauls said he would support the development if that point was addressed.

“I can live with it, but I do not support the disruption of Cambridge Drive,” he said.

Other residents expressed stronger concerns, saying they were against the project in its entirety. Although many people claimed to support new development and growth in the city, they approached the podium one by one to implore city council members to vote against the Glen at Cool Springs.

“It is going to create much-increased traffic which will impact kids playing in the neighborhood, people walking, riding their bikes,” said Marilyn Novosel, who has lived on Cambridge Drive for 28 years.

“I know to a lot of people, Cambridge Drive is just a stub road, a dot on the map. To us, it’s where we live. To our neighbors in Westlake Downs, it’s part of our home and our neighborhood.”

The argument against new development is one that has been repeated time and again. In the past two years, the city council has heard dozens of requests from developers to annex and rezone land for new neighborhoods. Interest increased when the city landed large commercial projects like the Pfizer expansion and Bharat Forge’s new plant.

Efforts to create new neighborhoods to keep up with expected population growth, however, have been met with widespread opposition from current residents.

On Tuesday, longtime Sanford resident Tom Wilder said that one of the things he loves most about Sanford is that it is a city where people can buy a home, with land, at a good price.

“We’re proud of that fact,” Wilder said. “Here in Sanford, we have land and we love the land. But high density is coming and it is a trend. Ask your friends in Apex and Cary about it. A lot of them have moved here to get away from it and we don’t want to reproduce some of the mistakes that they’ve made.”

In an effort to address the concerns of residents, developer Daniel Koeller requested the city approve zoning that goes beyond the minimum legal requirements. Each lot would be a minimum of 75 feet wide and have a 30-foot setback in the front, Koeller said. He added that he is willing to work with the city to install curbs and gutters in the neighborhood and create a buffer of trees around the site.

Koeller’s did little to appease 70 residents who signed a petition requesting the city council deny his annexation and rezoning requests.

Addressing the city council, Sanford resident Phil Checketts said, “You can tell us it’s good for the city, it’s what other cities are doing and we should follow. We are not sheep.

“We know what we want. We know why we bought here, we know why we moved here and we know why we live here. Tonight, myself and everyone else here is gonna urge you do the right thing, represent us, and vote no on the annexation.”

Contrary to Checketts’ wishes, the city council approved Koeller’s request for annexation, the first step toward development, with only councilman Chas Post voting against. The rezoning request will be voted on in February.

Legislative Town Hall for the City of Fayetteville & Cumberland County

VIRTUAL TOWN HALL JANUARY 21ST – 4PM
Join NC Senator Kirk deViere, County Commissioners Jeannette Council & Toni Stewart, Fayetteville City Council Member Shakeyla Ingram, Board of Education Member Charles McKellar, and Lee Lilley – Legislative Director for Gov. Roy Cooper for a Facebook Live Legislative Town Hall on Thursday, January 21st at 4PM.   Hear updates on State, County, and City items, as well as how members of the public can stay updated on the work being done. The elected officials will then take questions from constituents.
Register Here

Cumberland County Vaccination Information

Cumberland County Now Offering Appointment Requests to Eligible Vaccination Recipients

The Cumberland County Department of Public Health now offers residents who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a and Phase 1b, Group 1 (ages 75 years and older), the option of requesting appointment slots for drive-thru clinics offered at the Crown Complex on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Health Department will hold a special Saturday clinic on Jan. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The appointment request form is posted on the County’s COVID-19 Vaccine page at co.cumberland.nc.us/covid19vaccine.

The form requests basic information about the individual seeking an appointment. If the person is eligible under the current vaccination phase, the Health Department will call the person to confirm eligibility and schedule an appointment slot to receive a vaccine. Individuals can expect to receive a call from the Health Department staff between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays to schedule an appointment slot. The department will attempt to call each individual two times.

If you are not eligible for the current phase, you will not be able to schedule an appointment and should wait until your phase opens to try to receive the vaccine.

Due to high call volumes, individuals will not be able to schedule an appointment by calling into the Health Department. If you need assistance filling out the appointment request form, call (910) 678-7657 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The call takers will only assist in filling out the request form. They are not the appointment schedulers.

Appointment slots each day will be from 9-11 a.m. and from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. After 1 p.m. each day, the clinics will provide vaccines on a first-come, first served basis. Traffic lanes will be set up in the Crown parking lot for the designated groups.

The appointment block system will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The clinic scheduled for Friday, Jan. 15, will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals should expect long lines on Friday and come prepared to wait. Bring food, water and any medications that may be scheduled.

Murchison Road Corridor Receives Grant

January 11, 2021 | Volume 1, Issue 79 | FayettevilleNC.gov

Murchison Road Corridor Project wins $450,000 Federal Grant
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded a $450,000 grant to The City of Fayetteville and Fayetteville Metropolitan Housing Authority. The money will be used to create a revitalization plan for a section of the Murchison Road Corridor. Specifically, Murchison Road between Rowan Street and Pamalee Drive/Country Club Drive. The HUD Choice Neighborhood program awarded revitalization grants to 11 cities, including Fayetteville.

The grant will be used to develop a community-led plan to transform the area into a ‘Choice Neighborhood’. The plan will include blueprints to preserve and create new affordable and mixed-income housing. Project managers will also identify new opportunities for economic vitality. City leaders estimate it will take 2 years to complete the revitalization plan.

$150,000 of the grant can be used for an “early action project” at the site of the Murchison Townhouses at Rosemary Street. The early action project will be free internet and a little library on the property. The City’s Economic and Community Development Department will continue to collect feedback from residents on their preferences.

“We want to satisfy current residents of Murchison Road and welcome new business and educational opportunities in the area. Thank you to City staff members and the Fayetteville Metropolitan Housing Authority staff for completing this winning grant application. We also appreciate help from North Carolina’s elected officials. Together, we can create a Murchison Road that is cleaner, safer, and more appealing for those who live there, and for those who want to invest here,” Mayor Mitch Colvin said.

Winning the grant award is a step toward executing a large scale transformation of the Murchison Road Corridor. The City and Housing Authority will apply for a $30 million federal grant in the future.