Affordable housing in St. Petersburg

Habitat for Humanity will build affordable housing in South St. Pete. Future owners volunteer their time to help build the house, as do local community groups. Pictured are students from Boca Ciega High School working on a Habitat house in 2021.
Matt Gudorf.

Affordable home ownership could be available to residents of southern St. Petersburg by 2024 through a housing partnership with the city and Habitat for Humanity.

On July 11, Mayor Ken Welch said he chose Habitat for Humanity for this project because its proposal offered an innovative opportunity for homeownership and a truly affordable mortgage payment.

Many sellers in St. Petersburg have three-bedroom homes listed for $300,000 to $400,000 or more on Realtor.com at press time. St. Pete’s average rental costs in 2022 range from $1,176 to $3,461, Rent.com reported. Keeping up with the mortgage payments on a $400,000 home loan in the St. Petersburg area would cost about $2,394 in monthly payments on a 30-year fixed loan at 5% with a down payment of $96,000, according to the mortgage calculator from Realtor.

“The need for affordable housing across all categories and income levels is immense,” said Mike Sutton, President and CEO of Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco. “At Habitat, we focus solely on affordable home ownership. We believe affordable home ownership is the best way to benefit the surrounding area and its residents by allowing them to share in the equity creation spurred by the area’s planned redevelopment. Home ownership is also one of the main mechanisms for creating intergenerational wealth.

Welch said the two housing development projects planned with Habitat for Humanity will be built inside the South St. Pete community redevelopment area: 18th Street and 18th Avenue South (The Grove) and 21st Street and 18th Avenue South (Pelican Place).

“The project will provide affordable home ownership opportunities for residents with mortgages as low as $1,075 per month up to $1,300, incredible affordability made possible by the 0% Interest Mortgage Program of Habitat,” Welch said in a press release. According to several real estate agencies, an influx of people from all over the United States moving to St. Pete has caused a simple supply and demand in the housing market, leading to higher selling prices for homes.

“In June 2022, home prices in St. Petersburg were up 22.3% from a year ago, selling at a median price of $379,” Redfin reported. “On average, homes in St. Petersburg sell after eight days on the market… There were 613 homes sold in June this
year, down from 740.”

Welch told The Gabber on Tuesday that the city’s South 18th Avenue and Habitat for Humanity housing project is the first completed condominium townhouse in St. Pete. Habitat will build 56 homes there.

“We need to make sure we also have a basic housing plan and economic opportunities,” Welch said. The city said the project includes up to 12 three-story townhouses for home ownership with attached garages and driveways. All units will be reserved for individuals and households with an income equal to or less than 80% of the regional median income (AMI).

“Current terms of the agreement include a property purchase price of $725,000, with $750,000 in City public funding ($16,500 per unit) with $1.012 million in funding from Penny for Pinellas, pending approval,” the city wrote in a press release. Total development costs are estimated at $13.54 million, Welch said. Under Habitat’s proposals for both projects, homeowners will get a 30-year conventional housing loan.

“Habitat would also eliminate the need for a down payment and would not require private mortgage insurance (PMI),” the city’s press release said. “It would only require $1,000 in closing costs. According to its proposals, Habitat agreed to exclusively market the site to residents of southern St. Petersburg and city staff for the first three months of the program.

Housing development plans on the 1800 block of 18th Avenue South (The Grove), provided by the city

Habitat submitted two projects for The Grove.

The 10-unit concept consists of two five-unit buildings with the main facade facing Russel Street. The 10-unit floor plan would not face 18th Avenue South and allows for a more open design with additional green space for residents.

The 12-unit design plan consists of four separate buildings. This design faces 18th Avenue South, which aligns with zoning. All three story units would have ground floor garages and a utility/storage area. There would be a total of two parking spaces per unit, in order to limit the impact of on-street parking in the area. The total development cost of the project is approximately $3.4 million.

For both projects, the proposed affordability period will be 10 years, the city said. According to the mayor’s office, Welch is seeking a longer period of affordability as part of its negotiations with Habitat to create a term sheet.

Housing development plans for Pelican Place, according to the city

At Pelican Place, Habitat aims to develop 44 units: nine two-bedroom units, nine four-bedroom units and 26 three-bedroom units. The units have a one car garage on the first floor. The houses would measure between 1,000 and 1,300 square feet. Development costs total approximately $13.5 million

How to calculate the AMI?

According to the City of St. Petersburg, as of April 2022, the AMI for St. Pete residents is as follows:

Household size – AMI 50% – AMI 80% – AMI 120%

1 – $28,750 – $46,000 – $69,000
2 – $32,850 – $52,600 – $78,840
3 – $36,960 – $59,150 – $88,680

To learn more about income limits, visit City of St. Pete website.

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