In Utah, we pride ourselves on having the best upward mobility, a result of our strong economy.
Upward mobility is the epitome of the American dream. As president of the Utah Senate, I am committed to keeping the American dream alive in our state. Couples and individuals starting out deserve the opportunity to build a better future, have financial stability and achieve their economic goals.
Over the last few years, home costs soared for both purchase and rent. Not only have prices skyrocketed, inventories are at all-time lows, making it increasingly more difficult for families to purchase their first home. Without assistance, I am worried we will lose our middle class and first-time homebuyers will be forgotten.
As a grandparent, I want my grandkids to stay and raise their future families in Utah. That won’t be possible without helping Utahns get into their first homes. Affordable homeownership is key to making sure our state remains a great place to work, live and raise a family.
Homeownership doesn’t just help families at the start of their adult life, it creates financial stability as they grow older. I have personally seen the difference a paid-off home makes in the lives of people I love, providing security when living on fixed incomes.
In my opening day speech, I said it was time to bring back state assistance financing for first-time homebuyers. That is why I am running SB240 during the 2023 general session and proposing we allocate $50 million to the first-time homebuyer assistance program. This program will help qualifying applicants receive a loan of up to $20,000 to buy down the interest rate, apply funds toward a down payment or pay for closing costs.
The program assists families and individuals across the state get out of apartments and into homes while encouraging home builders to construct affordable housing. By doing this, we are helping address Utah’s housing shortage and providing an opportunity for families to build equity.
With the proposed funding, the first-time homebuyer assistance program will help an estimated 2,500 families purchase their first home.
Nothing good just happens. We must work to keep the American dream of owning a home still achievable in Utah. SB240 makes that possible by incentivizing cities and builders to focus on affordable housing for first-time homebuyers.
Affordable homeownership isn’t a partisan issue; this program is for our kids and grandkids. In America, owning a home is what differentiates us from other countries. When an individual owns a home, it not only builds self-esteem, it can change generations. I look forward to seeing how the first-time homebuyer assistance program will help Utah families for years to come.
J. Stuart Adams is the Utah Senate president.