The City Desk: St. Pete Seeks to Strengthen People, Neighborhoods, Community
The City Desk is a monthly column written by and about the city of St. Petersburg. This month, Robert Gerdes, Neighborhood Affairs administrator, talks about the city’s focus on neighborhoods and the help the city provides for first-time home buyers and homeowners who want to rehab their houses. (If other cities in the Tampa Bay area would like a monthly City Desk column, give us a ring or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
By Robert Gerdes, Neighborhood Affairs administrator
Housing costs are a frequent topic of conversation among cities experiencing growth like St. Pete. Housing costs go up, while older homes are in need of repairs or renovations.
The city of St. Petersburg’s Housing and Community Development department has programs in place to assist first-time home buyers with down payments and closing costs; low-interest loan programs to help make home repairs, and grants or low-interest loans to make renovations for accessibility.
Owning a home can still be the American Dream in St. Petersburg.
The city’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program helps potential first-time home buyers purchase a single-family homes or condominium located within the city limits. For example: A three-person household making a combined annual income of $64,680 could receive up to $10,000 – as a 0 percent interest loan to assist in purchasing a home.
Let’s break it down. A $132,000 home purchase might require up to $8,450 in closing costs. If a lender were to provide a mortgage of $130,978 and the city were to provide a loan of $10,000 – the homebuyer’s minimum required contribution is $1,320. The payment of principle, interest, property taxes, Insurance and the small repayment of the city’s loan would all only total approximately $1,090 per month. This is less than the $1,361 monthly average two-bedroom rental cost for the area.
What if you already own your own home? The city also offers rehabilitation programs to help current homeowners make significant repairs to their principal residence. For families with a household income that is at or below 120 percent of the area median (about $71,760 for a family of four), a 0 percent interest loan can be made available to repair roofing, electrical, plumbing and other health and safety items in the home. A portion of the loan will be forgiven, and the repayment portion will be deposited back into to the city’s housing fund in order to “pay it forward” – or help the next person who needs assistance. This repayment structure was established in order to make certain that the city’s repair programs continue to operate, even in years when state funding is minimal or non-existent.
For homeowners who have a household member who is physically, visually or hearing impaired, you may also receive a 0 percent interest Barrier Free/Special Needs loan that is forgiven after 10 years which will help to retrofit the structure to allow functional accessibility.
It’s our mission to help serve the housing needs of St. Pete. If you’re concerned about the cost of housing, need assistance, or are interested in more housing programs offered by the city, please visit stpete.org.housing.
Photo courtesy of the city of St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg | Housing | Affordable Housing | Home Loans | Tampabay News
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