In traveling across the Buckeye State, the topic of housing continues to be top of mind for our fellow Ohioans.

From high purchasing costs and elevated mortgage rates to persistent housing shortages in many communities, it’s certainly a difficult time to be a prospective homebuyer. This is especially true for first-time buyers who are navigating the current market.

Put simply, the barriers to homeownership seem more daunting than ever before.

But our state’s future success hinges on its ability to keep families here in Ohio and to attract new talent. And at the state level, we aren’t turning a blind eye to the challenges around housing and homeownership. In fact, we’re taking action.

First proposed by Governor DeWine during his 2023 State of the State speech and later passed as part of the state operating budget, the State of Ohio has introduced a new initiative that creates specialized, tax-advantaged savings accounts to assist Ohioans on their homebuying journey.

This exciting new program, Ohio Homebuyer Plus, is being administered by the Treasurer’s office, and we’re eager to put the strength of the state’s balance sheet to work for Ohio’s prospective homebuyers.

Ohio Homebuyer Plus offers above-market interest rates to accountholders who deposit money at participating banks or credit unions. Additionally, individuals who open an account may also qualify for certain Ohio state income tax deductions.

To qualify for enhanced interest savings through an Ohio Homebuyer Plus account, an eligible accountholder must:

• Be an Ohio resident at least 18 years of age;

• Have a primary residence in the State of Ohio throughout the time the account is open; and

• Only use the account proceeds toward the down payment or closing costs of a primary residence purchase in Ohio.

Prospective homebuyers will work with a participating bank or credit union to apply for an Ohio Homebuyer Plus savings account. Accounts connected with Ohio Homebuyer Plus must be used within five years, maintain a minimum balance of at least $100, and cannot exceed a maximum balance of $100,000.

For more information on how to get started, including the list of participating financial institutions, please visit our website at Ohiotreasurer.gov/homebuyerplus.

At the end of the day, to purchase a home in Ohio is to invest in Ohio. We look forward to supporting Ohioans on their homebuying journey and helping them to turn their dreams into a reality.

THEIR VIEW

Robert Sprague is Ohio treasurer.