Floridians need an average annual income of $62,000 to afford a median-priced residential property. But the annual incomes for most Hometown Heroes are less than this amount.
Luckily, frontline workers in over 50 critical professions have something to smile about ever since the Florida Hometown Heroes loan program was announced. The program, which the Florida Housing Finance Corporation administers, seeks to cover down payment and closing costs for eligible frontline workers. Governor DeSantis recently revealed that eligible workers could apply for the loan beginning June 1st with the help of a loan officer.
Hometown Heroes loan program gives up to 5 percent of your first mortgage loan amount in closing costs and down payment. Eligible applicants get to enjoy a $25,000 grant from the program. If you're based in Brevard County, here's how you can benefit from the program:
Income Limits for Brevard County and Qualifying Occupations
The Hometown Heroes income limit for eligible borrowers in Brevard County lies at $121,800. The heroes' loan limit for VA, HFA Advantage, and HFA Preferred is $647,2000, while the heroes' loan limit for USDA-RD and FHA is $420,680. As a first-time homebuyer grant, the program boasts a 30-year fixed rate on the mortgage.
Under the Hometown Heroes loan program, the first mortgage program options include HFA Preferred for TBA (offered by Fannie Mae) and HFA Advantage for TBA (offered by Freddie Mac).
The conventional Fannie Mae option offers charter-level, reduced-cost mortgage insurance. However, you need an Area Median Income below 80 percent to benefit. An AMI of 80 percent and above doesn't qualify for the reduced-cost MI benefit.
You can enjoy the charter level, reduced cost, and mortgage insurance on a conventional Freddie Mac mortgage. Your AMI should be below 80 percent to qualify for a reduced-cost MI benefit.
Other Loan Program Specifics to Know
The Hometown Heroes loan program requires you to avail various documents to prove occupational eligibility. These documents include:
- Copy of VOE (verification of employment)
- Copy of Florida State certification or license
- Fully completed Hometown Heroes Program Attestation
You can get a 5 percent second mortgage under the program, provided with various conditions. However, you can't combine another FL housing down payment assistance program with this program. The only exception is when you are getting down payment help from another agency that offers the subsidy to oversee 3rd lien position/
The purchase timeline reservation will help you lock a rate with the lender. You have to lock your rate 45 days before purchasing the home. Taking the loan beyond the 60-day deadline will attract new extension fees or repricing costs and cancellations.
The Hometown Heroes loan program is available to certify or licensed full-time frontline workers, military personnel, and first responders correctional officers. It would be best to be employed full-time and currently hold an indicated position in your license.
In the departments of corrections and juvenile justice, eligible occupations include the following:
- Correctional Probation Officer
- Certified Correction Officer
- Sworn Law Enforcement Officer
- Juvenile Probation Officer
- Juvenile Detention Officer
Eligible workers in professions that require prompt accident or emergency response include:
- 911 Public Safety Communicator
- Certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Certified Paramedic
Certified Educators who qualify for the program include:
- School psychologists
- Social workers
- School counselors
- Media specialist/librarian
- Career specialists
- Classroom teachers
In the fields of nursing and childcare, certified occupations include:
- Licensed Child Care Operator
- Childcare Instructor
- Certified Nursing Assistant
- Licensed Practical Nurse
- Registered Nurse
Eligible health care practitioners include:
- Physician Assistants
- Pharmacy Technicians
- Podiatric Physicians
- Chiropractic Physicians
- Osteopathic Physicians
- Dental Hygienists
- Certified Nurse-Midwives
Other eligible health-related occupations include:
- Occupational Therapist (with their assistant)
- Speech-Language Pathologist/Audiologist (with assistants)
- Nursing Home Administrator
- Athletic Trainer
- Licensed Nutrition Counselor
Licensed Nutritionist or Dietician
Veterinarian Technician or Assistant (employed by mobile or permanent veterinary practice)
Prosthetist Orthotist, Prosthetist, Orthotic Fitter, and Orthotic Fitter Assistant
Electrologist and Massage Therapist
Phlebotomist, Clinical Laboratory Personnel, Licensed Medical Physicist (X-Ray), Certified Basic X-Ray Machine Operator, Specialty Technologist, Certified General Radiographer, Certified Radiologic Technologist, and Certified Radiology Assistant
- Optician, Hearing Aid Specialist, Physical Therapist (with their assistant), Psychologist, Mental Health Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Social Worker, and Psychologist
Active military personnel and veterans are eligible for the Hometown Heroes loan program. However, active military members need to provide a military ID copy and don't need to be first-time homebuyers to qualify.
Veterans also don't need the first-time homebuyer requirement, provided they submit a valid DD-214 reflecting discharge status other than dishonorable. Surviving spouses need a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to apply for a VA first mortgage.
Cost of Living in Brevard County
With a total population of 608,459 as of 2020, Brevard County has a median income of $48,483 and an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. The median home price in this Floridian county is $277,100, while the median age stands at 47.1.
The cost of living in Brevard County, FL, can be split into six categories, including utilities, transportation, miscellaneous expenses, housing, healthcare, and food. Each cost is scored with a baseline of 100, indicating that any figure above 100 means that the costs are higher than the national average and vice versa.
For transportation, it's affordable to get around Brevard County. The transportation cost stands at 88, which is better than the national and state average. You'll save more on transportation if you move to Brevard from a state with high transportation costs.
Housing costs are surprisingly lower compared to other counties in the Sunshine State. Homes in this county have a median price of $210,700 compared to the statewide average of $237,100 and a nationwide average of $231,200. You won't have to break the bank to secure a home in the county.
With a healthcare cost score of 94, Brevard County seems to have an affordable healthcare system in place. The national average for the same stands at 100, while the state average stands at 98.
The cost of utilities stands at a rating of 97, which is relatively lower than the national average of 100 and the state average of 102. Miscellaneous expenses in the county may cost you more since the rating stands at 9 compared to the national average of 100 and the state average of 97. With a rating of 101, grocery costs are pretty higher than the national average but lower than the state average, which stands at 103.
Best Places to Buy a Home in Brevard County
The affordability of homes in Brevard County, FL, depends on home price-to-income ratios, rent-to-income ratios, and median income levels. This is because these factors affect your cost of living and give you a rough picture of the quality of life you'll enjoy in this Floridian county. Use the median home prices to determine how much income you need to afford a home.
Based on these factors, here's a list of the five best places to buy a home in Brevard County, FL. The cities discussed below have a relatively affordable home price-to-income ratio, low rent-to-income ratio, and high median income level.
Micco makes it to the list with a median home price of $148,896. The city ranks at number 25 based on the rise in home prices over the past three years in the county.
With a population of 9,047, Micco is quite a neighborly place to buy a home and live. The home price to household income ratio stands at 4, while the median home price per square foot is $154.
Taking the second position is Sharpes, with a median home price of $188,906 and a home price to household income ratio of 4.80. The city boasts a population of 3,221 and a median home price per square foot of $145. It scores below average based on transportation (with a walk score of 20 and a bike score of 36), meaning that most errands require a car.
Port St. John
Next on the list is Port St. John, with a population of 11,684 and a median home price of $275,131. The home price to household income ratio in this city currently stands at 4.80, while the median home price per square foot is $255. You'll require a car to run most of your errands in Port St. John since the city's transportation rating is below average (walk score of 22 and bike score of 38).
South Patrick Shores
South Patrick Shores is also an excellent place to buy a home in Brevard County since homes in this city have a median price of $349,760. The median home price per square foot stands at $383, while the home price to household income ratio is 4.40.
The city has a population of 10,873 people and scores below average with respect to transportation (walk score of 9 and bike score of 31). In this case, most errands will require a car.
Cape Canaveral closes the list with a median home price of $262,237 and a home price to household income ratio of 4.80. The city's current population is 10,377, while its median home price per square foot is $255. You can accomplish some errands in Cape Canaveral on foot since the city scores average in the transportation sector (walk score of 51 and bike score of 72).
Best Public and Private Schools in Brevard County
In the 2022 school year, Brevard County, FL, had 121 public schools that served about 73,427 students. The county's public school concentration is the highest across all counties in Florida.
Top-ranking public schools in Brevard County, FL, include Freedom 7 Elementary School of International Studies, Edgewood Jr/Sr High School, and Westshore Junior/Senior High School. The overall testing rank in the county is derived from a school's combined reading and math proficiency test score ranking.
Public Schools in Brevard County have a reading proficiency score of 61 percent compared to the 56 percent state average. Their average math proficiency score stands at 62 percent compared to the statewide average of 59 percent.
The average ranking of the schools is 8 out of 10, which makes them rank in the top 30 percent in the entire state. The minority enrollment of public schools in the county stands at 39 percent (majorly Hispanic and Black) compared to the statewide average of 62 percent (majorly Hispanic). Here are the top five public schools in Brevard County, FL:
Westshore Junior/Senior High School (with math proficiency of 98 percent and reading proficiency of 97 percent)
Edgewood Jr/Sr High School (with a math proficiency of 96 percent and reading proficiency of 96 percent)
Freedom 7 Elementary School of International Studies (with a math proficiency of 94 percent and reading proficiency of 95 percent)
Robert L Stevenson Elementary School (with a match proficiency of 94 percent and reading proficiency of 90 percent)
- Manatee Elementary School (with a math proficiency of 90 percent and reading proficiency of 87 percent)
Best Private Schools in Brevard County, FL
In the 2022 school year, Brevard County had 75 private schools that served 9,548 students. The high-ranking private schools in the state include St. Teresa Catholic School, Ascension Catholic School, and St Mark's Episcopal Academy.
Private schools in Brevard County, FL, have an average tuition fee of $7,263. The fee is lower compared to the statewide average of $9,613.
Sixty-eight percent of these schools have religious affiliations (the majority being Catholic and Christian). The best private schools in Brevard County, FL, include:
- St Mark's Episcopal Academy (Episcopal)
- Ascension Catholic School (Catholic)
- Calvary Chapel Academy (Christian)
- Community Christian School (Christian)
- East Atlantic Prep of Brevard County (Christian)
Is Brevard County Great for Families or Young Professionals
In most cities in Brevard County, FL, the neighborhood conditions favor opportunities for children and young adults. There are good schools, well-paying jobs, and safe housing across these cities. Even more, there's convenient access to healthy foods across the county.
When moving to the county, you'll find plenty of green spaces such as parks and playgrounds for you and your family to enjoy. The local graduation levels are also relatively high, while the county's quality of early childhood education is impressive. Brevard County, FL, is also notable for its low pollution levels.
Like other cities and regions, Brevard County is a major attraction for young, talented individuals. More employment opportunities are being created as many baby boomers retire. The county administrators acknowledge that the young professional's demographic benefits the local social and economic landscape.
As a young professional, you can join a handful of professional associations and programs in the county that favor career-minded people. These programs can help you expand your social and professional networks. They also give you a chance to participate in community and career development opportunities.
Cities/Towns in Brevard County that are Eligible for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program
Brevard County boasts a family-friendly atmosphere, high-technology industries, thrilling active and passive recreation options, educational opportunities, cultural activities, and tropical weather. The county also has the most extensive collection of endangered plants and wildlife in the continental US and up to 72 miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches.
Besides enjoying the attractions that Brevard County offers, you can apply for home financing through the Hometown Heroes loan program, provided you're eligible. The loan program caters to eligible frontline workers, active military members, and veterans in the following cities/towns:
- Cocoa Beach
- Cape Canaveral
- Melbourne Beach
- Merritt Island
- Satellite Beach
- Palm Bay
- Sharpes and Sebastian
It's good that the State of Florida is finally recognizing heroes who held the Sunshine State together during the pandemic. With the new Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program, housing will be more affordable for these heroes.
They get to enjoy down payment and closing assistance, among other perks. Heroes living in counties such as Brevard County, FL, also get to sign up and enjoy the housing benefits that come with the Hometown Heroes program.