Ohio’s real estate and business organizations push for passage of Homeownership Savings Program
By Andrew Huffman, Ohio REALTORS Director of Government Affairs
Ohio REALTORS, which has championed the creation of a statewide homebuyer savings program in Ohio since 2019, has partnered with eight of the state's leading real estate and business organizations encouraging the Ohio Senate to approve the Homeownership Savings Linked Deposit Program contained in the House of Representatives-passed version of the state operating budget.
The joint letter, sent to Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman, highlights how the program will give Ohioans another tool to achieve the dream of homeownership by creating tax-advantage savings accounts that leverage above-market interest rates. The Homeownership Savings Linked Deposit Program will assist Ohioans in overcoming the financial barriers associated with purchasing a new home.
Below is the joint letter sent to President Huffman on May 5:
On behalf of organizations representing housing advocates, the business community, developers, and financial services industry, we urge your support for the Homeownership Savings Linked Deposit Program created in the House-passed version of the state operating budget (Am. Sub. HB 33).
The housing inventory shortage has impacted every part of Ohio and places additional challenges on businesses looking for employees as well as growing communities. Ohio’s current real estate market has unfortunately made the dream of homeownership for many first-time homebuyers more unattainable than ever before. Scarce inventory and rising home prices have played a significant role in lowering the number of first-time homebuyers nationally to 26%, the lowest share of first-time buyers since data started being tracked by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) in 1981. The typical first-time homebuyer is 36 years old -- an all-time high. This is a trend we would like to reverse and we believe the creation of a the Homeownership Savings Linked Deposit Program will help more Ohioans overcome the financial barriers associated with owning a home in such a robust market.
Each time a home is purchased there are a host of economic benefits to the state. A recent analysis found that in 2021, the Ohio real estate industry accounted for $107.7 billion or 14.6% of the gross state product in Ohio. The study also found on average, each Ohio home sale contributes $72,800 back into the economy through retail and appliance purchases, construction, and renovations. Homeownership is a driving force of our economy and programs like the one proposed in the state operating budget can make homeownership a reality for all Ohioans.
Homeownership can also build generational wealth that can be leveraged later in life or passed on to family. The Survey of Consumer Finances, released in 2020 by the Federal Reserve, found that the median net worth of a homeowner is over 40 times greater than the median net worth of a renter.3 In other words, owning a home is one of the best ways to build wealth.
Saving for a down payment and closing costs often pose the most significant barrier to homeownership. Programs like the Homeownership Savings Linked Deposit Program provide tax advantages for individuals, family members, and employers that contribute to the account. In addition to the tax advantages offered, the program will also leverage the resources provided through the linked deposit program within the Ohio Treasurer of State’s Office to provide these savings accounts with an enhanced interest rate, adding to the benefits provided to potential homeowners.
For these reasons we urge you to support the Homeownership Savings Linked Deposit Program created in Am. Sub. HB 33.
Ohio REALTORS will keep you updated on the progress of the program as deliberations continue in the Ohio Senate.