(The Center Square) -– Nine counties in Florida have areas that will no longer be eligible to participate in a federal loan program for rural housing due to population increases.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development completed its recent review of rural areas nationwide, using data from the 2020 U.S. Census. The ruling goes into effect for those areas on Oct. 1.
The program allows eligible low and moderate income borrowers to receive no-money-down mortgage loans issued by participating lenders and backed by the federal government on both existing homes and new construction.
Plant City (all areas annexed by the city) in Hillsborough County had its rural designation removed.
The annexed areas of Vero Beach South in Indian River County also were removed from the program.
In Lake County, areas that lost their rural designation include: Clermont (all annexed areas since 1990), Four Corners because its population exceeded 35,000 and the parts of Lady Lake Town north of County Road 466 and Lake Griffin Road.
Three communities in Marion County – Ocala (areas annexed since 1990), Silver Springs Shores and Liberty Triangle – lost eligibility. The latter two communities have population densities of more than 1,000 persons per square mile.
Apopka and Four Corners in Orange County were eliminated from the program as well. The areas of Apopka cut from the program were annexed since 1990, while Four Corners’ population exceeded the limit of 35,000. Parts of Four Corners are also in Polk and Osceola counties.
In Osceola County, the Disney-created city of Celebration became ineligible since its population exceeded the 35,000 limit.
Belle Glade in Palm Beach County was eliminated entirely from the program since its population density exceeded the 1,000 persons per square mile cap.
Fuller Heights and Highland City in Polk County had their population densities exceed requirements to participate in the program.
Sarasota County had one area, Venice, lose its eligibility as areas annexed by the city were struck due to exceeding the density requirements.