As business boomed, real estate agents took in nearly $4B in Paycheck Protection funds

National Weekend Edition /
Jun.June 05, 2022 02:30 PM

(Getty)

Real Estate agents across the country received nearly $4 billion in taxpayer-financed Covid relief — some to help pay for as little as one employee — even as real estate sales and commissions boomed during the pandemic.

NBC News is reporting the agents did nothing wrong when applying for — and receiving — the $3.9 billion doled out by the government’s Paycheck Protection Program designed to help pay employees and other eligible expenses, and the vast majority of the loans have already been forgiven because agents played by the rules.

All told, the Feds approved 300,000 loans to real estate companies claiming just one employee, which adds up to $3.9 billion in the loans backed by the Small Business Administration, according to data from the government’s Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), which is overseeing pandemic relief spending.

The report states that 146 companies received more than $90,000 each, but the average given to a real estate business was $13,000.

And those working in booming markets didn’t shy away from the handout: $3.6 million in loans went to Beverly Hills agents; $4.3 million landed in El Paso, Texas; and $14.9 million touched down in Charlotte, North Carolina.

So far $3.1 billion of these real estate loans have been forgiven. Requests for forgiveness for the remaining $800 million in loans have either not been sought, been denied, or are yet to be granted by the SBA.

The SBA says it is demanding about 12,200 loans be paid back, while 4,200 borrowers have appealed denials by the agency. Another 215,000 loans have been pulled aside by the SBA for manual review, an SBA official told NBC.

At the beginning of the pandemic, realtors did face uncertainty as sellers nervous about the virus canceled open houses. But by early May 2020, it was clear from nationwide open house data that people were looking at houses again.

Housing sales subsequently jumped 53 percent from April 2020 to January 1, 2021, and housing prices are now 40 percent higher than they were in January 2020, according to the report.

[NBC News] — Vince DiMiceli





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Kathy Hochul, Samy Nemir Olivares, Lee Zeldin, Nikki Lucas, Keron Alleyne, Erik Dilan (Getty Images, iStock, Nikki Lucas, Keron Alleyne, Samy Nemir Olivares, Facebook)
    Real estate’s election winners and losers
    Real estate’s election winners and losers
    From left: Howard Lorber, Bess Freedman, Ryan Serhant, Eddie Shapiro, and Robert Reffkin (Douglas Elliman, SERHANT, Compass, Getty Images, Brown Harris Stevens, iStock)
    Brokerage execs condemn SCOTUS ruling, pledge to cover abortion costs
    Brokerage execs condemn SCOTUS ruling, pledge to cover abortion costs
    From left: CHIP’s Jay Martin; Met Council on Housing’s Kate Ehrenberg (CHIP, Met Council on Housing, iStock)
    Rent stabilization: dysfunctional by design
    Rent stabilization: dysfunctional by design
    From left: U.S. Assemblymember Thomas Suozzi, Governor of New York Kathy Hochul, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
    Hochul challengers bang pro-tenant drum before primary election
    Hochul challengers bang pro-tenant drum before primary election
    (L-R) Kathy Hochul, Lee Zeldin, AOC, Eric Adams, Samy Nemir Olivares (Getty)
    Here are the elections for real estate to watch
    Here are the elections for real estate to watch
    Gov. Kathy Hochul (Photo by Sasha Maslov)
    At REBNY gala, Hochul pledges to “support” real estate
    At REBNY gala, Hochul pledges to “support” real estate
    (Getty/Illustration by The Real Deal)
    Rent board approves first full-year, post-Covid hike: 3.25%
    Rent board approves first full-year, post-Covid hike: 3.25%
    St Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (Marriot, Prime Minister's Office (GODL-India)/GODL-India/via Wikimedia Commons)
    Ex-Afghan officials living in luxury properties
    Ex-Afghan officials living in luxury properties
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...