Florida Initiative Advances Up to $8K to Help First-Time Homebuyers, Says Florida Association of Realtors


Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program Runs Through Nov. 30

ORLANDO, FL – July 13, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Like thousands of first-time homebuyers around the state, Aaron Thorp is planning to take advantage of a new Florida economic stimulus initiative. Under the Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program, eligible buyers can receive up to $8,000 in immediate assistance for a downpayment or closing costs, rather than wait to receive their federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

Thorp, 26, is planning to use the new Florida funds to pay part of the closing costs on a $90,000 three-bedroom house he’s buying in the Jacksonville suburb of Orange Park. “I already have money for my downpayment,” said Thorp. “But this assistance will allow me to take care of the other costs, and to renovate the home without having to borrow money from my parents or the bank.”

Linda Ostoski, a sales associate with Watson Realty’s Ponte Vedra office, helped Thorp find the house and is working with him to finalize his purchase. “It’s great that Florida is putting money aside to help first-time buyers,” she said. “After all, this is the time when they need money – and our entire state needs a boost.”

Research by the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR) indicates that several thousand first-time homebuyers like Thorp could benefit from the statewide program, which was adopted by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist.

Lawmakers set aside $30.1 million for the Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program, which will be administered by county and city housing offices under the overall direction of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. Prospective buyers should contact a local agency for application procedures, qualification requirements and repayment rules.

“We want Floridians to take advantage of this important program, which will help stimulate the state’s economy as well as the real estate market,” said 2009 FAR President Cynthia Shelton, CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member). “By helping qualified first-time buyers come up with the funds needed to purchase a home, this initiative will play a vital role in overcoming the largest financial barrier to homeownership.”

To help educate consumers and real estate professionals about this important new Florida program and the federal $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers, FAR has designated the week of July 12-18 as “Welcome Home Week: Making Homes Affordable.”

However, first-time buyers considering a home purchase should act quickly, added Shelton, since it has to be completed by Nov. 30, 2009, to receive the federal tax credit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

According to estimates by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the federal homebuyer tax credit will stimulate 160,000 home sales across the nation – 101,000 of which will be first-time buyers who will receive the credit. Another 59,000 existing homeowners will be able to buy another home because a first-time buyer purchased their home, NAHB predicts.

For more information about the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, the Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program and other homebuyer resources, go to the Florida Association of Realtors® website at: http://www.floridarealtors.org/AboutFar/homebuyercenter/index.cfm

The Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 115,000 members in 67 boards/associations.

Contact: Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications; 407/438-1400, ext. 2326 or 2314

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