TOPEKA (KSNT) — Starting summer of 2022, first-time homebuyers in Kansas can take advantage of a new savings account program in the state.

Governor Laura Kelly signed a bill into law on Monday, which would allow first-time home buyers to open an account with participating banks.

“The price of a single-family unit, going up between, I’ve heard, from $25-to-40,000,” said Ryan Vincent, executive director of Kansas Housing Corp.

Vincent spoke with Kansas Capitol Bureau on Tuesday about the current housing crisis affecting people across the state and nationwide.

He was inspired to help others in the state with their housing struggles after finding his first home in Central Topeka. However, he said the housing market looks a lot different now, especially during the pandemic.

“It’s lots, it’s land, it’s laws, it’s labor,” he said.

With the new savings account program, Kansans who have never owned a home or divorcees who haven’t owned for three consecutive years can contribute up to $3,000 for singles to $6,000 for married couples filing a joint return per tax year.

The amount grows with interest tax-free, with the maximum total allowed in an account at $50,000. First-time homebuyers can open an account starting July of 2022.

Housing officials say it’s one step in addressing a larger housing crisis.

Construction of new homes fell sharply in April. In part, due to a surge in the price of lumber and other building materials. According to the commerce department, the building of new homes dropped 9.5% last month, with economists also pointing to supply chain issues. That can make it difficult to get products for new homes, like appliances.

Vincent also said his organization is looking into conducting surveys to weigh the housing needs in the state, as some people struggle to pay rent during the pandemic.

“Part of that is because of COVID, and part of it is just the escalated home prices that we’re seeing,” Vincent said. “It’s vital for our state to come up with some kind of solution to this crisis.”

To read more about the new law, click here.

For housing resources and programs, click here.