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New affordable housing ends up more expensive than some expected

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 7:43 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - An affordable housing project in Panama City has been a hot topic among residents, especially in the Glenwood area. Now it is finishing up construction, and a few of the homes have already been listed for sale. It seems the final price is not what people expected.

“When we seen the price of the homes after they were built, it was kind of like an emoji face. I don’t even have words to describe the audacity,” community activist Robert Stewart said.

The four houses off Wilson Avenue are two-bedroom, two-bathroom, roughly 900 square feet, and listed for $210,000.

“They have to be out of their mind because no one in this community can afford this house,” community activist Tony Bostick said.

Think Real Estate realtor Ashley Ice said the houses sold in the neighborhood average about $30,000 less than these. But she said there’s a reason for it.

“It’s difficult because new construction right now, it’s almost impossible to build for an affordable price.” Ice said. “The cost of lumbar has doubled from May of last year to May of this year.”

Ice said not everyone has the same price point when buying either.

“If you make $10 an hour, your definition of affordable is going to be a lot different from someone who makes $250,000 a year,” Ice said.

But residents said these homes are not what most people in the area can pay for.

“I would hope that we could get something maybe 2/3 of this price,” Steward said.

“$150,000 to 180,000, that gives them the opportunity to own a home and to not have to work three jobs to be able to take care of that,” Bostick said.

Panama City has a ReHouse Bay program helping families pay for affordable homes, starting from the ground and going up to nearly $285,000. You can find more information on the program and if you qualify at https://rehousebay.org/programs/.

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