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🚲 St. Pete's bike plans, new USF stadium cancels contract, & great news from Fannie Mae

Mark Fazzini

Whether you are buying or selling a property, Mark will go out of his way to find out the key factors that are most important to you, so that he can p...

Whether you are buying or selling a property, Mark will go out of his way to find out the key factors that are most important to you, so that he can p...

Dec 7 9 minutes read

🚲 St. Pete looks to use federal dollars to expand its bike lane network

Driving the news: St. Petersburg is on the brink of expanding its bike lane network, with a focus on separated trails along Central Avenue and 28th Street.

Details: The proposed Central Avenue project aims to enhance safety in multimodal travel, particularly in areas where traffic speeds increase.

This includes a stretch from 31st to 34th Street, close to key landmarks like the Grand Central Bus Terminal and the Jim & Heather Gills YMCA. 

Concurrently, the 28th Street initiative will fill a crucial gap in the city's north-south bike network, linking with the SunRunner bus rapid transit and the Pinellas Trail.

Why it matters: These projects signify a major shift towards sustainable and safe transportation in St. Petersburg.

They also reflect a growing trend in urban areas to prioritize non-motorized travel options, aligning with broader environmental and public health goals.

The big picture: Spearheaded by Forward Pinellas, these initiatives are part of a larger vision to seamlessly connect bikers across the city and beyond, including a future trail on the Howard Frankland Bridge.

However, funding is still in progress, with construction for some segments scheduled for 2026 and 2028.

By the numbers: The council will vote on approximately $322,600 for the first section of the 28th Street project and $178,700 for the Central Avenue project, utilizing the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program and the Local Agency Program for funding.

Between the lines: These expansions, though beneficial, will require reallocating existing road space from cars to bikes, a decision that might stir debate among residents and commuters.

What’s next: While the immediate focus is on the two mentioned segments, the long-term plan involves extensive development of the bike network, impacting transportation patterns and urban planning in St. Petersburg for years to come.

The bottom line: St. Petersburg is at a pivotal point in transforming its urban landscape to support more active lifestyles and more sustainable transportation.

The city's approach, leveraging federal funds for local infrastructure improvements, sets a precedent for similar initiatives in other urban areas.

😮 USF terminates design-build contract for its new football stadium

Driving the news: The University of South Florida (USF) has terminated its design-build contract with Michigan-based Barton Malow for its new football stadium.

The agreement, initiated in March, is set to be replaced by a new construction management firm, a move confirmed by USF following a report by a Twitter fan account.

Details: USF's procurement office signed the termination document on Nov. 28.

The stadium, planned to be ready for the 2026 season, remains on schedule with construction set to begin in 2024.

Kansas City-based Populous, part of the original design team, will continue its collaboration with USF, maintaining project continuity.

By the numbers: USF initially agreed to pend up to $22 million in the design phase. A $200 million loan deal with Truist Bank and additional funding sources, including a $30 million sale of broadband service licenses to T-Mobile, are part of the financing plan for the estimated $340 million stadium.

Why it matters: This change signifies a major shift in USF's approach to building the stadium.

The new management model aims to provide the university with more control over design and cost efficiencies, which is crucial for staying within the project's budget.

Between the lines: The termination clause in the original agreement allowed USF to end the contract without penalty before finalizing the project's cost. 

Payments for services rendered by Barton Malow and Populous are expected, as per the contract's terms.

What’s next: An upcoming USF Board of Trustees meeting will provide further insights into the stadium project's future and the implementation of the new construction management model.

Decisions regarding funding, including the broadband service license sale, will also be discussed.

The bottom line: USF's decision to terminate the contract with Barton Malow and shift to a new construction management approach reflects its commitment to maintaining control and efficiency in building its new football stadium while ensuring the timeline and budget are locked in.

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📍 984 Riverside Ridge Rd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34688 

🏠 Game changer for real estate investing: Fannie Mae slashes down payment requirements

Driving the news: In a significant move, Fannie Mae has announced a reduction in the required down payment for owner-occupied, multi-family properties (2-4 units) to just 5%.

This change opens up new opportunities for aspiring homeowners, especially those interested in purchasing multi-unit properties to live in one unit while renting out the others.

Details: Previously, a 15% down payment was needed for a 2-unit home and 25% for 3 to 4 unit homes. Now, with the threshold lowered to 5%, potential buyers can save 10%-20% less than before, accelerating their path to homeownership.

This policy change applies to various mortgage types, including renovation loans, broadening its impact.

However, it's important to note that the 5% down payment doesn't apply to multi-family home purchases in high-cost areas.

Why it matters: The lowered down payment requirement significantly reduces the financial barrier for first-time homebuyers and those struggling to accumulate a large down payment.

It makes homeownership more accessible and allows for immediate investment through rental income.

The big picture: Fannie Mae, also known as the Federal National Mortgage Association, is a government-sponsored enterprise that plays a crucial role in the U.S. housing market.

Established in 1938, Fannie Mae doesn't directly provide loans but buys mortgages from lenders, repackages them into mortgage-backed securities, and sells them, thus replenishing lenders' funds to originate more loans.

What’s next: Prospective buyers should start by consulting with a loan officer to understand their financial capabilities and the specific requirements for qualifying under Fannie Mae's revised policy.

This step is crucial in determining affordability and the viability of a multi-family property purchase.

The bottom line: Fannie Mae's decision to lower the down payment requirement for multi-family homes is a game-changer, particularly for those who see homeownership as a distant dream.

It not only makes purchasing a home more attainable but also offers a strategic path to generate rental income, potentially transforming the landscape of home investment for many Americans.

📊 Our Current Local Market Numbers

The Pinellas County housing market has very low inventory that is driving high competition:

➡️ Homes in Pinellas spent about 22 days on the market in June compared to 8 days in June of last year.

➡️ The median sale price of a home in Pinellas County was $392K in June, down 0.76% since June last year.

➡️ There were 1,807 homes sold in June this year, down from 1,952 last year.

The bottom line: Homes may be taking slightly longer to sell than last year, but we are still in a seller's market.

The higher interest rates have slowed things slightly, but also created very low inventory so competition among buyers remains high.

You’ll need a strong offer to purchase a home in these conditions.

We’re staying on top of the market daily and there are even financing options that help you purchase at a lower rate.

If you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

🏠 Find Available Homes Today

📰 In Other News: 

  • That’s all for today, We hope you have an amazing week!


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