Ohio House introduces First-Time Homebuyer Savings Act legislation
By Beth Wanless, Ohio REALTORS Director of Government Affairs
The effort to create a First-Time Homebuyer Savings Act program in Ohio took an important step forward with the introduction of House Bill 186 yesterday. The measure, a companion to Senate Bill 24, is designed to allow first-time homebuyers to open a tax-deductible savings account for use toward a home purchase.
House Bill 186, introduced by Rep. D.J. Swearingen (R-District 89) and Rep. Shane Wilken (R-91), mirrors the legislation that has had three hearings in the Ohio Senate's Ways and Means Committee. The House Bill has broad, bi-partisan support, evidenced by its co-sponsors: Rep. Rick Carfagna (R - District 68), Rep. Sara Carruthers (R-District 51), Rep. Gary Click (R-District 88), Rep. Jon Cross (R-District 83), Rep. Jay Edwards (R-District 94), Rep. Jennifer Gross (R-District 52), Rep. Brett Hudson Hillyer (R-District 98), Rep. Catherine Ingram (D-District 32), Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-District 31), Rep. Jeff LaRe (R-District 77), Rep. Craig S. Riedel (R-District 82), Rep. Bill Seitz (R-District 30), and Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-District 37).
Passage of the First-Time Homebuyer Savings Act is the top legislative priority of the more than 35,000-member Ohio REALTORS. The measure has also garnered the backing of the state's leading real estate and financial Associations, including: Ohio Bankers League, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Land Title Association, Ohio Manufactured Homes Association, Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association, Ohio Realtist Association, and the Ohio Credit Union League.
"This legislation is a commonsense tool to help Ohioans navigate the path toward homeownership," said Ohio REALTORS Chief Executive Officer Scott Williams. "It allows people to make a long-term investment into Ohio and their future."
If passed, Ohio would join states like Colorado, Montana, Virginia, Oregon, Iowa, New York, Minnesota, Mississippi, and others to offer First-Time Homebuyer Savings Accounts.
Although an individual could put as much money as they like into the savings account, the interest earned and capital would be tax deductible with annual limits of $5,000 for single filers, and $10,000 for joint filers. There would be a lifetime deductible cap of $50,000 for single filers and $100,000 for joint filers.
The funds would need to be used toward the purchase of a home including closing costs and bank fees within 15 years or a penalty may apply. Anyone could open an account, and an account holder could hold an account in their name or in that of another person, such as a child, or grandchild. It also includes an exemption that would mean active-duty military personnel were not be penalized if they were called to duty out of Ohio, and therefore needed to either move or be out of the state for extended timeline.