Reinforcing their deep commitment to making housing more affordable for some of Florida’s most dedicated workers, Florida Realtors® today announced its support for HJR 1/SJR 1746. The proposed constitutional amendment would grant an additional homestead exemption for teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other Floridians who have selflessly helped the state’s residents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For decades, Florida Realtors® and its more than 225,000 members have been vocal advocates for affordable housing. Our state owes so much to the dedicated men and women who have done so much for us, HJR 1 and SJR 1746 will help by providing much-needed property tax relief to hometown heroes in our state,” said Christina Pappas, president of the state’s largest professional trade association.
In light of escalating housing costs, Florida Realtors® has supported the creation of a Florida Hometown Hero Housing Program (SB 788) to offer zero-interest loans to help with down payments and closing costs for essential professions including nurses, firefighters, teachers, and law enforcement. Pappas commended Florida House and Senate leadership for proposing HJR 1/SJR 1746, which would help many hometown heroes who already own a home.
“HJR 1/SJR 1746 and SB 788 pair perfectly together and make a compelling statement to the men and women who serve our state, our communities and our country that we support them. We want to make sure they have a chance of achieving the American dream of homeownership,” continued Pappas.
HJR 1, sponsored by Rep. Josie Tomkow and the Ways & Means Committee, and SJR 1746, sponsored by Sen. Jason Brodeur and the Finance and Tax Committee, would increase the homestead exemption on non-school levies for property owned by teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, child welfare services professionals, active-duty members of the U.S. military, and members of the Florida National Guard. If approved by the Florida Legislature, the measure would go on the general election ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment.
Data compiled by Florida Realtors® shows that at the end of last year, the median sale price of a home in Florida was just under $374,000. That is 21% higher than just one year earlier, and 47% higher in just three years. The average salary of many of the targeted occupations is less than what would be required to afford such a home.
“These dedicated hometown heroes have served Floridians non-stop through the pandemic,” Pappas said. “However, amid skyrocketing housing costs, many find that they can’t afford to live in the communities they serve. Our goal is to make homeownership more affordable for them, and we look forward to working with lawmakers to give these workers a helping hand.”
Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to 225,000 members in 51 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Newsroom website is available at http://floridarealtors.org/newsroom.