Affordable Housing Lot Program Faces Hurdles, Changes
One Community Update
January 15, 2024
St. Petersburg administrators are revamping the city’s Affordable Lot Disposition Program to increase attainable homeownership opportunities and eliminate construction delays that can span nearly four years.
Beatriz Zafra, special projects coordinator, explained the initiative’s unexpected challenges and proposed solutions to city council members at a Jan. 11 committee meeting. The program began in 2018 and allows officials to convert lots obtained through foreclosure into affordable, single-family homes.
Developers have built 35 houses on the city-owned lots, and 13 are under construction. The average sales price is about $261,300, and homebuyers typically earn less than 80% of the area median income (AMI).
However, administrators have encountered unexpected challenges. City documents state that the “current process was intended to broaden the base of non-profits working in the creation of affordable housing but has unintentionally resulted in a significant disparity in productivity amongst program participants.”
“The average (construction) completion time for our top three performers is 12 months, which isn’t that far from the top performer …,” Zafra said. “But you can see the average completion time for our bottom three performers jumps up to 41.3.”
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