National Housing Trust Releases Affordable Housing Update
The National Housing Trust (NHT) recently released an update of affordable housing initiatives at the federal level, which includes:
The President signed an executive order asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consider immediately extending the federal eviction moratorium until at least March 31 and calling on Congress to provide additional rental assistance as part of its coronavirus relief and economic recovery “rescue plan.” The CDC announced the following day that the moratorium, which was set to expire at the end of January, would be extended through the end of March.
The Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were asked to consider extending foreclosure moratoriums for federally guaranteed mortgages and continuing applications for forbearance for federally guaranteed mortgages until at least March 31. The Federal Housing Administration and the US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development announced these extensions on January 21.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was asked to consider extending its foreclosure moratorium further and continue forbearance applications for all loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. On January 19, the FHFA extended the moratorium until February 28, 2021.
Another executive order signed by the President begins the work of embedding equity across federal policymaking and rooting out systemic racism and other barriers to opportunity from federal programs and institutions.
National Housing News
Member Update, April 5, 2021, Florida Housing Coalition
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released the 2021 Income Limits. The new limits are effective on April 1, 2021.
HUD “sets income limits that determine eligibility for assisted housing programs including:”
- Public Housing
- Section 8 project-based
- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
- Section 202 housing for the elderly
- Section 811 housing for persons with disabilities programs
The agency based the 2021 Income Limits on “Median Family Income estimates and Fair Market Rent area definitions for each metropolitan area, parts of some metropolitan areas, and each non-metropolitan county.”
Republicans’ infrastructure plan comes under fire for splitting affordable housing fund
Florida Politics, March 25, 2021, Renzo Downey
Democrats say the bill effectively codifies the near-annual housing fund raid.
Lawmakers have unveiled a proposed bill detailing legislative leaders’ plan to split affordable housing dollars into housing, combating rising sea levels and wastewater grants.
Under the new deal, the Legislature is only putting forward a combined $141.1 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan Program, known as SAIL, and the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program, known as SHIP.
One third of documentary stamp tax dollars will go toward the “Always Ready: Flooding and Sea Level Rise Agenda” House Speaker Chris Sprowls announced last month. The plan would dedicate $100 million annually, beginning in the 2022-23 fiscal year, to create a Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan. It would also create a flood risk assessment and grant program.
Another portion would go toward the Wastewater Grant Program, which Governor DeSantis signed into law last year, within the Department of Environmental Protection. That program to help communities across Florida implement wastewater infrastructure programs is one of Senate President Wilton Simpson’s priorities.
The final third of the plan would keep funding in the affordable housing realm with the added provision that those funds cannot be swept into general revenue.
Buyers flocking back to condos
South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 24, 2021, David Lyons
Condos are back in vogue in South Florida, lifted by the COVID vaccines, a dearth of homes for sale and a steady flow of migrants from out of state.
Buyers appear to be more comfortable again with tight multiunit living spaces. In Boca Raton, someone plunked down $10 million for a downtown penthouse that won’t be completed until next year. And some purchasers buy sight unseen — clinching deals after viewing their condo layouts virtually.
Two New Reports Detail Pandemic’s Effect on Housing Needs Nationwide and in Florida
News release, March 18, 2021, The Florida Housing Coalition
The national housing crisis and Florida’s housing crisis have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic -- induced by a loss of employment and an unusually high priced housing market for both homeownership and rentals. Many low-income households were already struggling to afford their rent even before COVID-19 devastated so many throughout the state.
New Apartment Construction Declined Nationwide between 2017 and 2019: 15,000 Fewer Rental Units Were Completed in 2019 Than in 2017
US Census Bureau, March 18, 2021, George Boyd
The number of rental apartments completed in the United States in 2019 remained statistically unchanged from the previous year but dropped by 15,000 from 2017.
We looked at the characteristics of newly constructed apartments spanning 2015 to 2019, including the number of units, percentage rented in the first three months after being completed, and the median rents — both nationally and by regions.
Commissioners Approve Plans to Increase Affordable Housing in Broward County
Press Release, March 12, 2021, Broward County Commission
BROWARD COUNTY, FL –Commissioners have approved legislation designed to increase the number of affordable housing developments in Broward County.
After extensive collaboration with local governments and the development community, Commissioners approved new policies included in BrowardNext – Broward County Land Use Plan to promote and increase Transit Oriented Development and housing opportunities along major transportation corridors and also increase the number of affordable housing units available for residential development.
Homebuyers face stiff competition in South Florida as northerners arrive — with cash
South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 1, 2021, David Lyons
As homebuyers jostle for a dwindling supply of houses in South Florida, local bidders are finding themselves in a growing competition with out-of-state people who are offering cash on the spot.
Brokers are astounded by the increase in out-of-state inquiries pouring into their offices in Florida.
They describe how local buyers have lost out to COVID-driven buyers from New York and other northern states. Many callers on the other end of the line have a pile of cash ready — often the fruit of higher-priced house sales in their hometowns.
For the seller, “it’s a no-brainer — you go with the cash deal,” said Ken Johnson, a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University. “That’s going to squeeze out locals using financing. You’ve got somebody else using cash.”
Couple that with a diminishing supply of homes to buy in South Florida, and the search for a new home “is getting tougher for everybody,” Johnson said. “Nationally the number of existing homes on the market has fallen off tremendously.
Home prices are surging. And there’s no end in sight.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 23, 2021, David Lyons
Homebuyers saw home prices exceeding 10% or more across South Florida during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as interest rates hit new lows and the numbers of houses for sale sharply dropped off.
The monthslong, rock-bottom interest rates coupled with the heavy demand for homes all fueled the push, experts say. And there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, even though South Florida home prices are well above their historical highs.
Rental assistance update: Money coming soon to strapped tenants and landlords
South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 14, 2021, Ron Hurtibise
Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties are finalizing details of how they plan to dole out millions of dollars to help prevent the eviction of thousands of renters who fell behind on their payments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The counties plan to begin accepting applications and making payments within the next few weeks.
A spokesman for Gov. Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, said the state will distribute $871 million through the Department of Children and Families instead of the 119 local governments that last year distributed $135 million in rent and mortgage assistance to more than 32,250 Florida households.
Florida study: $5 billion return on $423 million affordable housing investment
The Center Square, February 2, 2021, John Haughey
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed $96.6 billion Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget recommendation fully funds affordable housing programs at $423.3 million, which a study released Tuesday maintains will generate $5 billion in economic benefits statewide. “An Economic Analysis of the Florida Housing Programs,” produced by the Regional Economic Consulting (REC) Group for the Sadowski Coalition, analyzed the economic impact of using affordable housing trust funds solely for affordable housing — a rarity in Florida until this year — and determined every $1 in housing trust funds spent on housing returns $1.40 in revenues for state and local government coffers.
Landlords and tenants will be offered help for past-due rent if they agree to mediation
South Florida Sun Sentinel, January 23, 2021, Ron Hurtibise
Renters facing evictions — and the landlords who want their past-due rent — might soon be invited to mediation. The prize if they agree to settle their differences: some of that money approved last month by the federal government to keep renters in their homes.
That’s how Broward County plans to distribute much of the $59 million in emergency rental assistance funding that the county received on Wednesday. It’s Broward’s share of $25 billion approved by Congress and the president last month as part of $900 billion in federal COVID-19 relief.
Amazon Pledges $2 Billion For Affordable Housing In Three Hub Cities
Forbes, January 6, 2021, Brenda Richardson
Amazon said Wednesday that it is launching a $2 billion housing equity fund to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in Washington state’s Puget Sound region; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville—three areas where the company has or expects to have at least 5,000 employees each in the coming years.
The fund aims to preserve existing housing and create inclusive housing developments through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies and minority-led organizations.
Renters face rising prices in most South Florida cities. But not everywhere.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 28, 2020, David Lyons
If rents for November are any indication, people with an apartment search in mind could be facing rising prices in a majority of South Florida’s large cities.
But rents are cooling in several marquee markets such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami, a national survey shows.
A 37-city survey conducted by RentCafe showed rents for November declined a half percent in Fort Lauderdale to an average of $1,968, with Miami easing by 0.7% to $1,696. But in West Palm Beach, where out-of-town businesses are trolling for locations, and apartment projects are under way, rentals are up by 4.1% to $1,528 on average.
Coastal affordable homes are most vulnerable to sea level rise, study says
South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 23, 2020, Jessica Meszaros
New research by the organization Climate Central shows that by mid-century, affordable homes in Florida will see eight times the amount of flooding compared to 2000, meaning some of the most vulnerable people across the state will be affected by sea level rise.
Scientists with Climate Central say that in 2000, there were about 110 affordable homes in Florida that were expected to flood every year, but the study concludes that figure will go up to nearly 1,000 by 2050.
One-Month Eviction Moratorium, $25 Billion in Rental Aid in Covid Bill
Route-Fifty, December 21, 2020, Andrea Noble
Renters who have been unable to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic will be protected from eviction for another month under the Covid-19 relief bill approved Monday by Congress.
The $900 billion deal agreed to by lawmakers after months of negotiations and stalemates extends the Trump administration’s previous eviction moratorium, which would have expired Dec. 31, until the end of January.
Renters could be cast out of their homes with eviction moratorium set to end Dec. 31
South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 19, 2020, Ron Hurtibise
For hundreds of South Florida families behind on their rent, New Years Day looms not as a signal of fresh beginning and hope, but as the day their legal right to stay in their home will expire.
That’s the day the federal government’s current nationwide moratorium on evictions, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 4, is scheduled to end. Unless it is extended as part of the long-negotiated COVID-19 relief bill still in negotiation in Congress, thousands of evictions cases piling up in South Florida courts will be allowed to proceed to their final step — removal of tenants.
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Buying a house in Miami is now more expensive than ever. Broward isn’t much cheaper.
Miami Herald, November 19, 2020, Rebecca San Juan
South Florida outdid itself again. The median sales price for a single-family home in Miami hit $435,000 in October, surpassing last month’s median price of $425,000, a historical high.
The total number of existing home sales rose more than 16% in October 2020 compared to October 2019 sales in both Miami-Dade County and Broward, according to the Miami
Association of Realtors.
The total number of home sales was up more than 12% in September 2020 over September 2019 sales in both counties, the Realtors said. That follows a similar increase in August, which provided welcome relief after the four-month decline in previous months.
Full article... PDF...
Broward is getting a new $30M affordable housing project, thanks to two developers
Miami Herald, October 20, 2020, Rebecca San Juan
A new affordable housing community is in the pipeline for Broward County.
The Coral Gables-based development firms Coral Rock Development Group and the Paragon Group of Florida are building a $30 million affordable housing townhome complex, Highland Oaks, in Pompano Beach, according to a press release. The two-story rental community will have 138 townhouses and 305 parking spaces.
The project spans 10.75 acres at 921 NW Third Ave. Construction is anticipated to start in late 2020 and end by late 2021.
Full article... PDF...
Florida Sees Signals of a Climate-Driven Housing Crisis
New York Times, October 12, 2020, Christopher Flavelle
Home sales in areas most vulnerable to sea-level rise began falling around 2013, researchers found. Now, prices are following a similar downward path.
Miami-Dade is one storm away from a housing catastrophe. Nearly 1M people are at risk.
Miami Herald, October 08, 2020, Rene Rodriguez and Yadira Lopez
As the tail end of one of the most active hurricane seasons in history nears, Miami-Dade County appears once again poised to emerge unscathed. The region dodged hurricanes and tropical storms that posed a potential threat to South Florida. But what will happen when our luck runs out?
Housing advocates have long feared that the city is one storm away from disaster; nearly a third of all housing structures in Miami-Dade County built before 1990 are at risk of wind damage, mold contamination and even complete devastation from a hurricane.
According to U.S. Census figures, nearly one million people could be left homeless in a worst-case scenario — the majority of them among the poorest of the county’s residents.
Full Article... PDF...
Housing shortage fuels rising cost of homes in America
CBS This Morning, September 25, 2020, CBS News
The median price of a townhouse, home or condo soared above $300,000 for the first time over the summer. The average property is selling in just 22 days, faster than ever.
That new demand has run into an old problem. Since 1960, home prices across the country have risen more than four times faster than income, and many experts say the cause is frustratingly simple: America has a housing shortage. Some 400,000 fewer homes came up for sale this summer, compared to last, according to data from the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Full Article... Video...
Broward County Total Home Sales Rise in August 2020
Miami Realtors, September 22, 2020, Chris Umpierre
Broward County total home sales surged in August 2020, according to the MIAMI Association of Realtors (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
Broward County total home sales jumped 6.7% year-over-year, from 2,895 to 3,089. Broward single-family home sales jumped 16.4% year-over-year, from 1,436 to 1,672. Broward existing condo transactions decreased 2.9% year-over-year, from 1,459 to 1,417.
Strong demand coupled with limited supply continue to drive price appreciation in Broward.
Broward County single-family home prices increased 12.5% year-over-year in August 2020, increasing from $369,750 to $416,000. Existing condo prices increased 13.2% year-over-year, from $176,540 to $199,900.
Governor Approves 2020-21 State Budget
Florida Government News Releases, June 29, 2020, Staff
Today, the Governor signed HB 5001 – General Appropriations Act (“Budget”) – into law. The overall budget totals $92.2 billion, with over $1 billion in vetoes to supplant losses in revenue due to the COVID-19 health pandemic. The area of Affordable Housing received 2020-21 Fiscal Year funding as follows:
$225 million of the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) fund was vetoed. However, last week the Governor appropriated $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance for Florida families that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be two funding pools totaling up to $240 million and sets aside up to $10 million in expected operational costs for the program. Below is a summary of how funds are to be allocated:
Rental Assistance for Affordable Rental Housing Tenants
$120 million will provide short-term rental assistance for COVID-19 impacted households residing at multifamily rental properties in FHFC’s portfolio.
- FHFC will reimburse participating properties to subsidize eligible households’ rents for each impacted month.
- The rental assistance will be available to help pay a household’s rent for eligible months from July through December 2020.
- The household may be eligible for assistance to pay rent arrearages accrued during the months of April, May and June 2020.
Rent and Mortgage Assistance
A separate pool of $120 million will be released to counties based on a county’s reemployment assistance rate for the determined disbursement period. The allocation also includes $200,000 for technical assistance to local governments. These funds would be used for rental and homeowner assistance programs such as:
- New construction.
- Mortgage buydowns.
- Down payment.
- Closing cost assistance.
- Emergency repairs.
- Homeownership counseling for individuals impacted by COVID-19.
Operations Assistance for Special Needs Developments and Administrative Costs
- A one-time allocation of $2 million will be provided to assist with past and future costs related to additional staffing, security and supplies directly related to COVID-19 in serving special needs and homeless households residing in the supportive housing developments. The allocation will be based on each development’s total number of units.
- Additionally, $8 million will be provided in expected administrative costs, including credit underwriting, disbursement review and processing, compliance monitoring and technical assistance. Funds not used for administration, if any, would be added to Rental Assistance and/or Operations Assistance for Special Needs Developments.
Statement on veto of Sadowski housing trust funds
Member newsletter, June 29, 2020, Sadowski Affiliates
SHIP funding was vetoed from Florida budget, CARES Act funding directed to rental and mortgage assistance.
Sadowski Affiliates statement...
FHFC Releases 2019 Annual Report
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) 2019 Annual Report is now available online. The report, themed: “Welcoming Families Home,” is available for print and/or viewing.
Governor Ron DeSantis Announces $250 Million for Affordable Housing Coronavirus Relief Initiative
Florida Government News Releases, June 25, 2020, Staff
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance for Florida families that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many families across our state have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 through no fault of their own,” said Governor DeSantis. “This initiative strives to provide financial assistance through multiple affordable housing programs to ensure these Floridians receive the support they need during this difficult time.”
“Florida Housing is grateful for the Governor’s strong support of housing and the programs proposed to give renters and homeowners impacted by COVID-19 the relief they desperately need,” said Florida Housing Finance Corporation Executive Director Trey Price. “The Governor and Florida Housing stand together in guaranteeing Florida households stay a priority, and ensuring families have the necessary assistance and tools in place to remain in their homes affordably during this public health emergency.”
The initiative includes two funding pools totaling up to $240 million and sets aside up to $10 million in expected operational costs for the program.
Is America's Housing Ready for an Aging Population?
United States Census Bureau, June 22, 2020, Jonathan Vespa
It should come as no surprise that older Americans overwhelmingly want to stay in their home as they age. But are their homes ready for them to stay?
For millions of older Americans, home is where they raised a family, hosted holidays and told bedtime stories to their children and grandchildren. It is often their nest egg as well as an anchor to their community.
But older homes don’t always meet the needs of older Americans, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
South Florida rents are declining as coronavirus chases tenants away from downtowns
Sun Sentinel, June 20, 2020, David Lyons
The coronavirus pandemic might be chasing people away from living on top of each other in apartments.
Rents are gradually declining, suggesting that tenants are looking elsewhere for room to work at home and stay healthy.
In 30 South Florida cities, the rent for 62% of one-bedroom units are either flat or declining, according to Zumper, a national apartment search firm. The percentage increases to 69% for two-bedroom prices.
Feds Pump Millions Into Disability Housing As Part Of Coronavirus Relief
DisabilityScoop, June 9, 2020, Michelle Diament
Federal officials are funneling millions of dollars into new housing opportunities for people with disabilities across the nation.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it is making available nearly $77 million to support as many as 8,300 housing vouchers for this population.
The funding for what’s known as the Section 811 Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program was announced late last month and is part of the CARES Act, a large coronavirus relief package approved by Congress in March.Full article...
Florida Housing Unveils Redesigned Affordable Rental Housing Locator
Newsletter, April 30, 2020, Florida Housing
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) unveiled the redesign of the statewide online affordable rental housing locator called FloridaHousingSearch.org. The locator is part of Florida Housing’s ongoing effort to respond to affordable rental housing needs in general as well as during natural disasters. While there has been no change to the locator’s services it provides and it is still free, the new design is more user and mobile-friendly making it easier for affordable housing developments to list their vacancies and for consumers to find them.
A New Home
Keenila Spiller, left, greets Anna Jaime, of Continental Development Holding, and Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich at a ribbon cutting for Spiller’s new affordable rental home in Fort Lauderdale. Continental Development Holding, a newly launched Miami-based developer, plans to build more affordable housing units throughout the tricounty area, including single-family homes, townhomes, multifamily homes and duplexes in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Hallandale in 2020.
Beatrice Bray and Spiller stand in Spiller’s new affordable rental home in Fort Lauderdale.
Photos courtesy of: Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel photos