BOSTON (WWLP) – The state is in the midst of a housing crisis and legislators are looking at creative ways to help bridge the gap.
Housing has been a top priority on Beacon Hill as affordable housing becomes increasingly difficult to find. A bill on Beacon Hill is looking to levy a fee on what lawmakers consider “luxury” housing.
According to the Lt. Governor, the state is roughly 200,000 housing units short of meeting demand. And just last week, the first housing secretary in more than 30 years was sworn in, in the hopes of focusing an entire division of the executive branch on housing.
On Tuesday, Local Option for Affordable Housing hosted a day of action at the State House focused on a House and Senate bill that would drive funds to affordable housing. The bill gives municipalities the power to adopt a transfer fee of between .5 percent and 2 percent on real estate transactions above $1 million.
“The idea here is this is just to empower and enable municipalities to do what they think is best, so a lot of flexibility in this bill. The baseline really is those that are profiting the most off of this crisis should be able to contribute just a little bit to solving it.”
Now, if communities lack sales above $1 million, the fee would extend to lower-priced homes by allowing fees on real estate transactions above the county’s median sale price for a single-family home, if that city or town’s county median sale price is below $750,000.
The fees would then go to affordable housing and preservation.
Now opponents of these bills believe these fees are just added taxes. At the event, the group stressed that every municipality could enact its own exemptions to the bill. A handful of municipalities have filed home rule petitions on the matter with Northampton and other communities working on their own.