On April 27, 2020, Virginia REALTORS® was pleased to host a virtual town hall featuring U.S. Senator and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner. Virginia REALTORS® leadership and the leadership of our local associations were given the opportunity to hear updates from Senator Warner regarding the plans to combat COVID-19, and they were also able to submit questions for him to address.
Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist, Lisa Sturtevant, PhD, presented information on the impacts of COVID-19 on the Commonwealth’s housing market. Senator Warner noted that thus far, Virginia’s home sales and home price data are more positive than anticipated, a trend likely fueled by the Commonwealth’s strong economic fundamentals prior to COVID-19. He also explained that he and Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) have introduced a bill that would permit immediate nationwide use of remote notarizations. According to Warner, this legislation would “help the housing market during the pandemic by taking out the need for in-person notaries while also moving our country into the 21st century.”
Another topic Senator Warner addressed is the dire need to get a liquidity facility in place to help mortgage servicers, and he encouraged REALTORS® to actively weigh in on this issue. While many mortgage lenders are permitting the issuance of forbearance, those servicers are still required to pay the lenders. Said Warner, “It would be incredibly disruptive to the housing market if we suddenly have all these mortgage servicers having to close at once. Liquidity will prevent the problem from being pushed upstream, and REALTORS® can help the federal government see that.”
Senator Warner also spoke with Virginia REALTORS® 2020 President Kemper Funkhouser and Senior Vice President of Government Relations Martin Johnson about our Association Health Plan legislation that is currently sitting on the Governor’s desk after his amendments were rejected by both the House and Senate. Warner agreed to the importance of affordable health care for all, particularly during a pandemic, and pledged to take a closer look at the intricacies of our legislation.
In closing, Senator Warner encouraged Virginia REALTORS® to keep their finger on the pulse of what is happening in their communities. “REALTORS® are the glue that holds communities together,” he said. “You all have a much closer look at how your neighbors and community members are feeling. Please pass that information along to us; it’s important.”
Virginia REALTORS® is committed to keeping our members in-the-know with resources and updates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information.