BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) – ReHouse Bay is making finding a first home easier for residents even in this housing market.
Since December, ReHouse Bay has closed on 16 homes. Finding affordable housing can be difficult, but it is not impossible.
More than $800,000 in Hurricane Michael recovery state funds have been set aside for first-time home-buyers in Bay County.
“16 closings and so many people in the queue, and they are all excited about having an opportunity to purchase a home,” housing program manager Tammy Harris said. “And being able to get out from under all of these very high rents that are going on right now.”
Harris said they have been able to save some young families anywhere from $300 to $500 monthly, just by owning their home.
“We just recently got a three-year extension on the entire grant,” Harris said.
Although the ‘State Housing Initiative Partnership,’ also known as the SHIP program, will be around for another few years, Harris said the same is not the case for their purchase assistance funds.
“We only have a certain amount we are allowed to spend on purchase assistance and once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Harris said.
With the current housing market, Harris urges residents not to wait. Their state funding might run out, and there is already a low inventory.
“We were told upfront it wasn’t going to be easy but I have to commend our realtors,” Harris said.
Many local realtors have been able to find affordable housing options in Callaway and Lynn Haven for those who have qualified the past three months.
“These people are first-time homebuyers and they do have to stay in the home because the loan is a forgivable loan if you stay within the home for a certain amount of time,” THINK Realtor Jonathan Wolaver said.
Wolaver has worked with many ReHouse Bay clients. He said this housing market has challenges but affordable properties are available.
“The inventory is low, but they are building new homes and new homes come on every day,” Wolaver said.
Officials encourage all who are interested to fill out a ReHouse Bay application and attend their first-time homebuyer class.
Bay County is currently focusing on their purchase assistance program but they’re setting aside funding to help homebuyers with repairs after closings.