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Tampa to expand affordable housing program as market continues to tighten

First-time homebuyers who are eligible now can buy homes that are valued at a higher price and have access to a higher forgivable loan amount.

TAMPA, Fla. — It's no secret Tampa's housing market is getting hotter and prices for homes and apartments are skyrocketing.

"What defines the city of Tampa is the way we embrace our diversity and celebrate that diversity and these rising housing prices are going to start to push people out of our community and we cannot afford that to happen in the city of Tampa. Everyone should be able to live in the neighborhood they want to in the city of Tampa," Mayor Jane Castor said during a news conference Monday.

In a continued effort to help keep housing affordable in Tampa, Castor said the city is expanding its "DARE to Own the Dream" Homeownership Program.

"We are a very attractive location across not only the United States but around the world for people to bring their businesses, bring their families, and so we have to ensure that we have not only that housing for those individuals but that that housing is affordable," Castor said. 

Part of those program expansions includes the maximum home value first-time homebuyers who are income-eligible.  

The maximum home value for the program has been increased to $300,000 from $240,000. Castor says the state's cap for this kind of housing assistance program is $311,000. 

The amount for forgivable loans has also increased from $30,000 to $40,000. 

First-time homebuyers who participate in the program must say in their home for at least 10 years. 

The mayor says she made a bold pledge that by 2027 Tampa will have 10,000 new affordable housing units. So far, she says, the city has built more than 6,000. 

You can find more information on the "DARE to Own the Dream" Homeownership Program here.

While housing prices are continuing to increase, so too are rent prices across the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa. When asked about city leaders working on a rent cap for the city, Castor said the following:

"We have looked at that. But there are, as you know, you have to do the plus and minus columns. And if you do any type of caps or any control on rent, that's going to stop development and development is what you need. We need more housing units, not only here in Tampa but throughout the state of Florida. It's a supply and demand, so the quicker we can get the supply of homes, single units, whatever it is, the quicker we'll be able to lower these rents and prices for our houses as well." 

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