Purchase Assistance Program

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Purchase Assistance Program

Overview

The City of St. Petersburg offers financial assistance to homebuyers purchasing a new or existing single-family residential housing unit, condominium, townhome, or cooperative apartment located within the City’s municipal boundaries. 

Requirements

The buyer should be willing and able to meet the following conditions before applying for a loan to assist with buying a home:

  • Contribute an amount equal to 1% of the sales price into the transaction including out-of-pocket expenses attributed to the transaction such as earnest money deposit, appraisal, credit report, and property inspection.

  • Attend a first-time homebuyer educational training class provided by a HUD-approved housing counseling agency and receive a certificate of completion for that class. 

  • Purchase a modest housing unit with a sales price not exceeding $349,525.80 located within the city’s municipal boundaries.

  • Have the property inspected by a licensed home inspector to ensure compliance with the City’s Quality Housing Standards and have all deficiencies cured prior to closing.
  • Substantiate sufficient assets available to acquire the housing.
  • Demonstrate the ability to sustain homeownership with sufficient residual income to meet anticipated and unanticipated expenses.

  • Obtain a primary mortgage loan that is affordable over the term of the loan.

  • Apply for and be approved for homestead exemption after the property is purchased. For information regarding tax exemptions, visit the Pinellas County Property Appraiser site.

  • Maintain occupancy of the unit as a primary residence for the term of the Purchase Assistance subordinate mortgage loan or until the loan is paid, after which time the mortgage loan will be satisfied.

Income Eligibility

To be eligible for Purchase Assistance, a homebuyer’s total annual household income, as defined by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), cannot exceed the maximum annual income limit as adjusted for the number of occupants, related or not, residing within the residence.

Annual income is calculated by adding all sources of income from all household members over the age of 18 currently living in the home or will occupy the home within one year. Income includes salaries, child support, alimony, social security, pensions, public assistance, income-producing assets or income from any other source. View the current income limits.

Funding for households with income between 81% and 140% of the Area Median Income (AMI) may be limited. For more information regarding AMI and determining eligibility call 727-893-7247 or 727-892-5572.

Loan Terms

For Homebuyers at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI)

Purchase Assistance is provided in the form of a subordinate mortgage loan not to exceed $60,000 and shall be made available to eligible homebuyers whose total household income does not exceed 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development for the St. Petersburg geographic area. The loan amount is determined by the property’s sales price and costs associated with closing the transaction.

  • An amount equal to 20% of the purchase price shall be attributed to the downpayment. 
  • A maximum of $5,000 shall be provided to fund standard closing fees and service charges. Should the borrower’s required 1% contribution into the transaction be insufficient to pay all necessary prepaid items such as the appraisal, credit report, home inspection, and hazard insurance, the City will consider funding the cost of those items over and above the maximum 1% requirement.
  • The total loan amount, for assistance in paying for down-payment and closing costs, is secured by a mortgage recorded in the public records of Pinellas County.  The mortgage lien is subordinate to the first mortgage.
  • After 10 years of continued occupancy, the Purchase Assistance loan will be 100% forgiven and the City’s subordinate mortgage loan will be satisfied, and no monies will be owed to the City.

For Homebuyers up to 140% Area Median Income (AMI)

Funding for households with income between 81% and 140% of the Area Median Income (AMI) may be limited. For more information regarding AMI and determining eligibility call 727-893-7247 or 727-892-5572.

Purchase assistance is available up to $60,000 to homebuyers with total annual household income between 81% and 140% AMI.

  • 50% of the subordinate mortgage loan is payable monthly at 0% interest for a term of 10 years.
  • 50% forgiveness of the loan after 10 years of continued occupancy.
  • The purchase price cannot exceed $349,525.80 in the South St. Pete CRA
  • Funds within the 140% category are limited and available on a first-come-first-served basis. For funding availability please call 727-893-7247 or 727-892-5572.

Application Process

To apply for the Purchase Assistance Program:

  1. Inform the first mortgage lender of the Purchase Assistance Program, its eligibility criteria and contact information. Applications should be submitted only by the first mortgage lender on behalf of the buyer. Homebuyers seeking assistance should not submit the application. Application portal coming soon, check this site for updates.
  2. Upon receipt of the completed application submitted by the first mortgage lender, the City will begin the process of evaluating income eligibility according to the Code of Federal Regulations (24-CFR-Part 5) www.hud.gov/program, the Florida State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIIP) program, www.flhousing.org, (Chapter 420, Part VII Florida Statutes and Rule 67-37 Florida Administrative Code) and the buyer’s financial stability and residual income sufficient to repay as defined by the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule”, www.consumerfinance.gov.

Education

Homebuyers receiving assistance through the City’s Purchase Assistance Program are required to attend and receive a certificate of completion for an 8-hour Homebuyer Education Class provided by a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are available to customize a program specific to the needs of the homebuyer and to address the decision to select and purchase a home and to address issues that arise before, during and after homeownership is achieved including budgeting, financial planning, default, foreclosure, sale and other disposition of a home.

Homebuyer education classes and counseling services are available through any of the housing counseling agencies listed below: