Ohio REALTORS strongly supports passage of Senate Bill 24 — Ohio’s First-Time Homebuyer Savings Act — introduced by Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House).

The first hearing on the bill, which allows a first-time home buyer open a tax-deductible savings account, is set for Feb. 2. A similar measure garnered significant support in the last General Assembly, but the onset of COVID-19 stalled its passage.

“We’re thrilled that lawmakers are receptive to helping future generations overcome the challenge of attaining the first rung of the housing ladder with the introduction of Senate Bill 24,” said Ohio REALTORS President Seth Task. “This measure provides Ohioans the opportunity to put money into a tax-free savings account for the future purchase of a home in the state.

“Ohio REALTORS understand that homeownership: strengthens our communities; helps build generational wealth; and stimulates our local and state economies,” Task added.

SB 24 would authorize a first-time homebuyer to open a tax-deductible savings account in which a person can deposit money with the goal of using it toward a down payment of a home purchased in Ohio. A “first-time homebuyer” is defined as someone who has not purchase or owned a home within the past three years. Although a person can put as much money as they want into the savings account, only the interest earned and capital are deductible with annual limits of $5,000 for single filers, and $10,000 for joint filers. There’s a lifetime deductible cap of $50,000 for single filers and $100,000 for joint filers. The money must be used toward the purchase of a home including closing costs and bank fees within 15 years or a penalty may apply. Anyone can open an account, and an account holder can have an account for themselves or for another person, such as a child, or grandchild. It also includes an exemption for active duty military personnel to not be penalized if they’re called to duty out of Ohio, and they need to either move or be out of the state for extended timeline.

“I’m excited to work on Senate Bill 24 with Ohio REALTORS and their members this General Assembly,” said Sen. Gavarone. “Even before this pandemic, many Ohioans who dreamed of owning a home were struggling to come up with the money for a down payment. COVID-19 has only exacerbated that problem, and it is clear that this legislation is needed to make homeownership more attainable for Ohioans.”

A First-Time Homebuyer Savings Act program allows Ohioans to focus on smart saving while receiving a tax benefit to achieve the American Dream.

“For most Americans, buying a home is the largest and best investment they will make,” said Sen. Bob Peterson in a recent Motley Fool Rule Breakers review. “I hope Senate Bill 24 helps more Ohioans grow roots in Ohio communities.”

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