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Innovative Solutions and Pro-Housing Policies: Ohio REALTORS Support HB 499

Innovative Solutions and Pro-Housing Policies: Ohio REALTORS Support HB 499

May 21, 2024

By Anastasia Kotkovskaya, Manager, Advocacy and Research

Ohio REALTORS provided proponent testimony to the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee on House Bill (HB) 499, speaking to the urgent need to address Ohio's severe housing shortage and affordability crisis.

The lack of available homes in Ohio has become a growing concern, as it significantly impacts residents and particularly first-time homeowners who struggle to find affordable housing. The homeownership rate plummeted by 6% over the span of two years, home values have doubled over the past decade, and the median household income has only grown by 13.5%. This disparity has exacerbated housing affordability issues, with many low-income households forced to spend over half their income on housing costs. Young families feel overwhelmed purchasing their first home, finding themselves either priced out of the market or burdened with substantial debt. Given that each region of Ohio faces unique housing challenges, we must pursue tailored solutions to meet the specific needs of each community.

HB 499 proposes the creation of the Ohio Housing Fund. This would provide local governments resources to support housing initiatives by adopting at least three of the twelve suggested pro-housing policies outlined in the legislation. These policies are designed to be flexible to the different needs of communities and span a wide range of options, including:                                                    

  • Implementing a preapproval process for expedited permit reviews.
  • Acquiring and preparing sites for immediate financing and development.
  • Developing a ten-year housing plan to track needs, gaps, and strategies for increasing housing across all income levels.

If local governments adopt the minimally required number of policies to qualify for the Ohio Housing Fund, they could use the funding to support targeted housing initiatives to make homes more affordable and increase the overall housing supply in their communities. The funds could be applied to:

  • Providing capital for housing development through grants or loans.
  • Acquiring and readying sites for development.
  • Supporting first-time homebuyers.

HB 499 offers an effective, incentive-based solution to Ohio's housing crisis, recognizing the diverse needs of our communities. It would equip local governments with the necessary tools and resources to address unique housing challenges and advance innovative housing solutions. Ohio REALTORS will continue to look for impactful approaches to solving Ohio's housing crisis.

Read more about this legislation: HB 499 | 135th General Assembly | Ohio Legislature

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