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Why doesn't Florida have enough affordable housing? The legislature may be partly to blame

Why doesn't Florida have enough affordable housing? The legislature may be partly to blame

A deal struck last year between the legislature and the state’s main affordable housing arm appears to be in jeopardy as the House and Senate prepare to reconcile their rival spending plans. For decades the Florida legislature has swept money out of a trust fund designated for affordable housing. Those sweeps amount to more than $2.5 billion, and it's way more than that when local money is factored in. “It is, in no small part, why we have an affordable housing crisis," said Jaime Ross, President and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition. [Source: WUSF]

Florida will distribute $676 million in homeowner mortgage assistance, but state isn’t yet saying how you can get it

There’s good news and bad news for Florida homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage payments because of the pandemic. The good news is the U.S. Treasury Department on Feb. 9 approved Florida’s plan to distribute $676 million in federal homeowner assistance funding included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan enacted in March 2021. The not-so-good news: Florida’s program is being administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity — the same agency that runs the state’s troubled unemployment system — and the agency has not yet announced when or how it will begin accepting applications. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Insurer with 140,000 Florida homeowners policies loses rating. New carrier may step in.

One of Florida’s largest property insurers could be going out of business after a ratings agency withdrew its assessment of St. Johns Insurance Co. on Thursday. Without its “A” rating, St. Johns’ 140,000 customers in Florida could be forced to find new coverage. The state’s Office of Insurance Regulation said it was working with the company to find options to ensure its customers wouldn’t lose coverage. [Source: Miami Herald]

Florida considers property tax cut for teachers, military, first responders

A proposal that would increase homestead property-tax exemptions for teachers, military members and first responders is ready to be considered by the Florida House. The State Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a pair of linked measures (HJR 1 and HB 1563) that could reduce non-school property tax revenue by more than $90 million a year. Sponsor Josie Tomkow, R-Polk City, said the proposal is “one piece to the puzzle” in making Florida “the most desirable state for homeownership for not only these individuals but everyone who wants to come to our great state.” [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Everything you need to know for the upcoming spring real estate season

One of the busiest times in the Florida real estate — the spring buying season — is around the corner, potentially bringing with it more demand and higher prices. The spring uptick in the market usually starts around mid-March to April, real estate experts say, matching the time when many families are on spring break. “The spring season is marked by certain indicators: rising home prices, more sellers putting a home on the market and more buyer interest in the market, especially buyers with families who want to look for a home in the spring when school is out of session and they can resettle in to a new home,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist with realtor.com [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

22.8 percent
The town of Belleair Shore is the ninth most expensive city in the country to live in, according to an analysis by Zillow. Homes within the Pinellas County beach town are worth about $4.97 million. Values grew by 22.8 percent last year. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Miami bypasses New York City as least affordable housing market in US, according to report
This will come as no surprise to most South Florida residents. Living here is getting more expensive every day. In the last year, renters and homebuyers have experienced a gripping housing crisis as prices have surged thousands of dollars. In fact, Miami is now the least affordable housing market in the nation, overtaking New York City.

› Orlando luxury home market is hot, too, but $1 million doesn’t buy as much
Sales of luxury homes have exploded around metro Orlando, leading to a new reality for real estate agents who work with these properties, and concerns about dwindling inventory. In the past 180 days, four ZIP codes – 32789, 32779 (Longwood), 32746 (Heathrow, Lake Mary) and 32836 (Dr. Phillips, Golden Oak) – have seen a combined 167 sales of homes for more than $1 million, according to data from Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

› Survey says: 93% of Tampa Bay architects optimistic about development economy
The architects have spoken. And boy are they upbeat. In the latest iteration of the AIA Tampa Bay’s Voice of Architecture Economic Outlook, 95 area architects were surveyed to get their thoughts on the state of the region’s real estate development economy. They were asked about everything from how they saw things for this year to their thoughts on hiring at their own firms. The results paint the picture of professionals bullish on the industry and the economic outlook for Tampa Bay.

› Prompted by Surfside tower collapse, new condo lending rules target buildings in need of critical repairs
Thinking of selling or buying a condominium in the wake of last year’s catastrophic Surfside high-rise collapse? Then brace yourself. The national rules for getting a condo mortgage have suddenly changed, and that could make sales and purchases of many units much harder than before — and even block them outright when buildings face significant repairs or owners and condo boards have put off tackling serious maintenance.