Tampa expands down payment assistance program to address gaping housing affordability | Business Observer

As home prices continue to soar in Tampa, the city is expanding a first-time buyer assistance program to help attract more people to homes.

On Monday, the city announced it had raised the maximum purchase price for qualified buyers in its Dare to Own the Dream program from $60,000 to $300,000. This, the city says, will give buyers a bit more leeway as they navigate what Zillow calls the nation’s hottest housing market to buy a home in the city.

The Dare to Own the Dream program offers repayable down payment assistance loans to eligible homebuyers. The program, according to the city, distributed more than $1.1 million to first-time home buyers in fiscal year 2021. Those applying for the down payment assistance must have qualifying income to be eligible. eligible and then must live in the home for at least 10 years to obtain loan forgiveness.

Speaking at a morning press conference on Monday, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said the city is considering raising the maximum house price further, but it’s capped by law. State, which allows a maximum real estate value for programs like this at $311,000.

Castor says programs like Dare to Own the Dream are essential tools as the city tries to balance rapid growth and the influx of people in need of affordable housing.

She says rising housing prices are one of the most critical issues facing her administration and calls it a growing pain caused by the number of businesses and people moving to Tampa.

According to Zillow, the average price of a home in town is $323,000. But the company projects that demand created by a shortfall in housing inventory will drive home values ​​up 24.6% through November, about 10 percentage points higher than growth of 14.3. % of expected home values ​​nationally.

This worries Castor. “We are a very diverse community. That’s what defines the city of Tampa, that’s how we embrace that diversity, … and that rising housing prices are going to start pushing people out of our community and we can’t afford that to happen. produce, she said.

“Everyone should be able to live in the neighborhood they want in the city of Tampa.”

In addition to increasing the maximum house price, the government recently set aside $1 million for the program. This was done to reach families at 80% to 140% of the average median income. Those with incomes below 50% of the MAI will now be eligible for loans of up to $40,000. Previously, they would have qualified for up to $30,000.

For now, Castor is happy that breakthroughs are being made, but says there is still a lot of work to do.

“As I’ve said many times, if the need for housing stays constant for a few minutes, we might be able to catch up,” Castor said.

About Matthew R. Dailey

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