Real estate transfer fees could fund more affordable housing units in Massachusetts

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Cities and towns in Massachusetts could soon have more money to build affordable housing units.

A proposal that was introduced this week would give cities and towns the ability to charge additional fees on certain real estate sales.

Progressive lawmakers are teaming up with local officials to push for a “real estate transfer fee.” Under the plan, municipalities in Massachusetts could charge an additional two-percent fee on real estate sales above the statewide median sale price, which for a single-family is currently $415,000.

Money generated by the transfer fee would be deposited into the community’s affordable housing trust fund.

“And that’s what we need, the ability to take on this crisis at the local level, to build housing that meets the diversity of our community of our workforce and allow people to keep calling the cities they love home,” Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said.

The real estate transfer fee would also benefit rural communities who often get overlooked when it comes to building more affordable housing units.

Cities and towns would have the ability to decide if the fee would be paid by the buyer or the seller or if it would be split between the two. Local officials would have the ability to set exemptions from the fee.

In the midst of what economists are calling a “housing crisis” legislators are considering all of their options to make sure their constituents have somewhere to live.

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