COVID-19 News Round-up for May 12

Credit: Uraiqat Architects

Economic News 
Housing Markets may be Recovering 
In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, reports from the last month indicate the real estate market is faring considerably better than many industries, especially in Tucson. Long Realty reports new pending real estate sales in the Tucson Metro Area are up 9.3 percent from last week, but still down an average of 13.5 percent from before the COVID-19 shutdowns. (Source: Inside Tucson Business) 
Homebuilders’ April Not as Painful as Expected 
While homebuilders were expecting a strong selling season this spring before COVID-19 hit, the impact of stay-at-home orders wasn’t as painful as expected as they pivoted to offer virtual and appointment-only tours. Across property classes, homebuilders experienced better April sales than they did in March. (Source: Phoenix Business Journal) 
Orders Didn’t Close, Won’t Singlehandedly Reopen, Economy 
A recent report in the New York Times noted that “Americans were already hunkering down,” as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and the economy did not spontaneously close as a result of lockdown orders around the country. As a result, governmental permission to reopen businesses will likely not spontaneously regenerate momentum either. (Source: Phoenix Business Journal/New York Times) 
Michael Pollack Discusses Local Business Environment 
Valley real estate leader Michael Pollack recently talked about COVID-19, the economy and how Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has handled the pandemic during Rose Law Group’sNew Economy (Virtual) Power Lunch. (Source: Rose Law Group Reporter) 
Pandemic Raises Phoenix Office Space Sublease Availability 
Through the first four months of 2020, the Phoenix area has seen a nearly 28 percent increase in office space available for sublease, according to CoStar research. (Source: Phoenix Business Journal) 
Crisis Complicates Flagstaff City Budget 
The COVID-19 crisis and resulting economic downturn dominated the city’s most recent budget retreat with Flagstaff City Council and staff members struggling with how the city should face the ongoing turmoil. Councilmembers and staff expect substantial losses in revenue due to the economic downturn. (Source: Arizona Daily Sun) 
Tucson Budget Prep Incomplete without Feds Help 
Members of the Tucson City Council last week “poked holes” in the city’s budget for next year, expressing concern that it did not account for federal funding that could overcome at least some of the initial revenue shortfalls caused by the coronavirus. (Source: Arizona Daily Star) 
Yuma Council Presented with 2020-2021 Budget 
Before the pandemic, Yuma was expecting a budget surplus. Now it’s facing a shortfall, forcing staff to reset and reevaluate expenditures, City Administrator Phil Rodriguez told the City Council. Rodriguez said he is optimistic that the city will “recover and rebound much quicker than other communities” due to the city’s finances before the crisis. (Source: Yuma Sun) 
Chandler Braces for Revenue Impact 
The City of Chandlers proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year makes a number of contingencies in case the pandemic wrecks the local economy, but it still adds millions of funding for infrastructure projects that officials say need to be done. The city’s proposed budget of $901M totals $27M less than the current fiscal year and accounts for projected revenues losses. (Source: Chandler Arizonan) 
Updated City Operations Information 
On May 8th, Rose Law Group published an updated list of area municipalities’ operations, accessibility and schedules. (Source: Rose Law Group Reporter) 

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