On June 15, Ohio REALTOR Brian Whitta, from Findlay, testified in support of Bill 139 or the First-Time Home Buyer Savings Act. Introduced by Senators Teresa Gavarone and Bob Peterson, the bill is to create a savings account for potential Ohio homeowners.
The bill was brought before the House Ways and Means Committee, where Whitta testified.
“The dream of homeownership for first-time homebuyers has become a challenge in recent years and especially this past year, despite low interest rates,” Whitta told lawmakers. “One of the most significant challenges of homeownership is a down payment, as you can imagine.”
Bill 139, however, would help support first-time homebuyers by allowing them to open a tax-deductible savings account for use toward a home purchase. According to Whitta, the measure is a top priority for more than 36,000 Ohio REALTORS. Industry groups such as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Land Title Association, and the Ohio Bankers League also voiced support during the hearing.
“Although this savings program will not reduce all barriers to homeownership, it is certainly a tool that will help hardworking Ohioans move closer to their goal,” Whitta said.
If Ohio passes Bill 139, it will join states like Colorado, Montana, Virginia, Oregon, Iowa, New York, Minnesota, Mississippi, and others to offer First-Time Homebuyers Savings Accounts.
Stay tuned for more updates from the Ohio Legislature!
First-Time Home Buyer Savings Act
Published May 2019
On April 30th 2019, Senators Theresa Gavarone & Bob Peterson introduced Senate Bill 139 in the Ohio Senate to create a tax deductive savings account for Ohioans. This Ohio income Tax Deduction is designed to help empower Ohioans to prepare for homeownership in a meaningful way, with a tax-free savings account. With 8 in 10 non-homeowners reporting that affordability is a barrier to home ownership, this Bill may help ensure the American Dream of homeownership by creating a way for families to save for their loved ones. Details in the Bill include the following:
- Annual maximum contribution is $5K for single person and $10K for married people
- Max 15-year cumulative contribution amount is $50K for single and $100K for married people
- Contributions plus interest are tax deductible
- Account is self-managed; banks have no liability or responsibility of management
- Withdraw penalty is 10%
- Account holder death or disability
- Monies transferred from 1FHBSA to another FHBSA
- Financial Institution fees
Ohio REALTORS® reports that transitioning from a renter to homeowner brings a marginal increase in consumer spending for goods and services with an estimated $97 million in economic activity in Ohio and $25K per transaction in construction-related economic activity in the state from newly constructed housing units. As REALTORS®, we believe home-ownership strengthens our communities, helps build generational wealth and also stimulates our local and state economies.
Senate Bill 139 has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee with the first hearing to have taken place on May 21, 2019. Stay tuned for updates from The Ohio Legislature!