REALTORS® in Mississippi successfully campaigned for legislation creating a new first-time home buyer savings account program that is expected to boost homeownership and new-home construction in the state. The measure, signed in late March, enables Mississippians to deduct thousands of dollars a year from their state adjusted gross income to fund savings accounts for down payments or other home purchase–related expenses.
Mississippi REALTORS® launched the advocacy effort with the help of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Issues Mobilization program, which provides financial and technical resources to help state associations with advocacy programs. In this instance, NAR provided economic research that helped make the case to lawmakers for the long-term economic benefits of a savings program to help future home buyers. “We hope that other states will follow Mississippi’s example and provide similar relief for first-time home buyers,” says Mississippi REALTORS® President David Griffith, broker and co-owner of Griffith Real Estate & Appraisal Services, Miss.
Mississippi is one of four states with a first-time home buyer savings account program. Montana, Virginia, and Colorado passed similar laws in recent years. NAR is currently assisting seven state associations (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania) with efforts to launch their own savings account programs.