[EDIT 2/5/2014: Clarified that the bill would allow savings plans, not savings accounts. I.e., they could be brokerage accounts, mutual funds, or other investments, similar to an IRA.]

First-time homeowner savings plans accounts got two steps closer to reality in the last few days.

First, on January 29 VAR’s First-Time Homebuyers Savings Plan bill (HB331, introduced by Del. Tag Greason) unanimously passed the Agriculture, Commerce, Technology, and Natural Resources subcommittee.

Then on February 3, it passed the House Appropriations Committee — again, unanimously. Now it heads to the floor of the House for a full vote. If it passes there, the Senate will then act on it and hopefully it will be sent to Governor McAuliffe for his signature.

The bill would establish First-Time Homeowner Savings Plans Accounts allowing a contributor to deposit up to $50,000 principal into a banking or investment account, and have all the earnings on that account be free of state taxes. It could then be used for a down payment and closing costs on a first home.

The unanimous support the bill received on both the subcommittee and committee levels bodes well for its future — and for future Virginia homebuyers.

Delegate Tag Greason discusses the First-Time Homebuyers Savings Plan bill in front of the House Agriculture, Commerce, Technology, and Natural Resources subcommittee. Chip Dicks, VAR’s legislative counsel, stands to the right.