Join the fight for first-time homebuyers

By Kim Shindle | March 15, 2018 | 3 min. read

Pennsylvania legislators have introduced a bill which would create a First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account Program. House Bill 1981 was introduced by Reps. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie) and Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe). Companion legislation, sponsored by Sens. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) and Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), is pending in the Senate.

Contact your representative and ask for their support of House Bill 1981.

“PAR is proud to support this legislation and will work with legislators to encourage its passage,” said President Todd Umbenhauer. “It’s wonderful that these legislators recognize the importance of homeownership and are working on legislation that would help more Pennsylvanians achieve the dream of owning a home while boosting the economy at the same time.”

The program would allow Pennsylvanians to save money toward the purchase of a home and the money saved would qualify as a tax deduction on their state income tax return. Parents, grandparents and other family would be eligible to save for children and grandchildren as well. Research from the National Association of Realtors® shows that more than 80 percent of Pennsylvanians support the First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account program.

Many first-time homebuyers need help overcoming some of the obstacles to homeownership. Low wages and college debt make it difficult for young people to save money to purchase their first home. Research conducted for PAR showed that 56 percent of Pennsylvanians identified college student loans as an obstacle to homeownership. And a study by LendEDU ranked Pennsylvania as having the highest average college loan debt per borrower at $35,185.

“Our research also shows that First-Time Homebuyers Savings Accounts could result in an increase of home purchases of up to 4,000 annually in Pennsylvania,” Umbenhauer said. “The increase in the number of home purchases would have an overall positive impact on Pennsylvania’s economy, spurring additional economic activity, job creation and earnings for households, according to research conducted by the Anderson Economic Group.”

It’s estimated that the positive economic impact could be up to $68.8 million. The increase in state tax revenues collected from realty transfer taxes, income taxes on increased earnings and sales taxes on increased consumption would exceed tax revenue forgone due to FHSA deductions.

According to NAR, the share of first-time homebuyers in the national home sale market has fallen from 45 percent to just 32 percent. Several states have passed similar legislation, including Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New York and Virginia.

Contact your legislators today and ask for their support for the Pennsylvania First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account Program.

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