Singleton, Gopal Bill to Assist First-Time Homebuyers Clears Committee

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Trenton – In an effort to support first-time homeowners, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton and Vin Gopal that would establish the New Jersey First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account Program.

“It is a well-known fact that the key to creating generational wealth is homeownership,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Yet, it can be difficult for lower and moderate income individuals to buy a home. That is why the New Jersey First Time Home Buyer Savings Account Program is needed now more than ever. It will encourage and incentivize saving for a down payment, which is often the biggest hurdle to homeownership.”

Under the bill, S-335, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) would enter into an agreement with financial institutions that express an interest in establishing first-time homebuyer savings accounts. The agreement would require the financial institution to allow a certified first-time home buyer to open a savings, deposit, investment, or other brokerage account with the financial institution and designate the account in its entirety as a first-time buyer savings account.

“Homeownership and the financial challenges that come with it can be daunting for first-time homebuyers. The establishment of this savings account program will encourage healthy financial decisions for new homeowners,” said Senator Gopal (D- Monmouth). “Homeownership is a shrinking market, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With proposed incentives, this program will benefit New Jersey and new homeowners.”

Additionally, the agreement would require the financial institution to allow a first-time homebuyer to contribute cash or other marketable securities to the account and to transfer assets that may be held in another first-time homebuyer savings account or another similar account maintained through a comparable program in another state or jurisdiction.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 3-0.