How Realtors Advocate for Affordable Homes


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, October 21st, 2016 – The Realtors Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) continues to champion affordable housing. Just look at a program that its Leadership Academy launched recently to generate realtor and public awareness on the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act.

Enacted in 1992, this legislation created a dedicated revenue source for Florida housing programs dependent only on federal sources and appropriations approved by the state legislature. The Sadowski Act provides that a portion of documentary stamp taxes collected on real estate transfers will be allocated to state funds for affordable housing mechanisms on the state and local levels. It also created a support Sadowski Coalition consisting of home builders, realtors, and other interest groups for its implementation.

Prodding the Legislators

How Realtors Advocate for Affordable Homes

Efforts like those taken by RASM’s Leadership Academy is important, because in recent years, Sadowski affordable housing funds have been diverted to other state expense items like covering fiscal deficits. The Sadowski Coalition, in fact, called on the Florida Legislature earlier this year to utilize in fiscal year 2016‒2017 all state and local housing trust fund appropriations, currently at nearly $324 million, solely for their purpose.

In support of this call, the Florida Housing Coalition, a statewide nonprofit providing technical assistance and training, released its “Home Matters Report 2016.” This report is under the umbrella of a national initiative to educate policymakers and the public about the connection among housing, education, health, and the economy.

The Florida Housing Coalition said release of Florida’s appropriations on state and local housing trust funds of nearly $324 million in the current fiscal year to affordable housing programs will not only bring home purchase within reach of low-income households. It added that over 32,000 jobs will be created and more than $4.8 billion in positive economic impact will be realized as a result of the fund releases on affordable housing.

Keeping Pace with Price Uptick

Availability of state funds for affordable housing is critical in the current regime of rising home prices. In Sarasota, the August median price of single family homes rose 7 percent to $253,000 from $237,000 last year. The median price of Manatee homes for sale in August had a 1.89 percent increase to $270,000 from $265,000. 

Along with these price gains, the inventory of affordable homes is becoming thinner. According to RASM’s president, Linda Formella, sales are at a quick pace for residences priced at $300,000 and under. She expects that this trend will continue because of a strong demand for affordable but quality housing.

Pinpointing Some Home Choices

For such prized sales listings, one buyers’ delight is the gated community of Copperstone in Parrish at an up-and-coming area in north Manatee. Many of the homes here are newly built and are priced between the $200s and the $300s, featuring floor plans ranging from 1,480 to 2,800 square feet designed with three to four bedrooms.