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How much will the new real estate tax hurt Massachusetts investors — and will it work?

Massachusetts is latest state to consider transfer tax bid increase funds affordable house,but The controversial fees don’t bode well for the Bay State’s already expensive real estate industry.

State officials believe the proposed transfer tax could inject billions of dollars into state-funded affordable housing programs, potentially alleviating the housing crisis. However, real estate experts warn such taxes could dampen home sales and add to challenges face commercial real estate Developers are already struggling with high office vacancy rates.

What’s in the bill?

Transfer tax is part of Gov. Maura Healey’s $4 billion plan Housing Bond Act. The bill was introduced in the fall and has received widespread attention, support Dozens of city leaders.If passed, city will be able to A fee of 0.5% to 2% is levied on sales of properties over $1 million.

Supporters of the provision, including Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, said the tax would help solve Affordable housing shortage in state. Massachusetts Housing Secretary Edward Augustus says the state needs 200,000 more units to keep up population growth.

“This policy is a win for local governments, but most importantly, it’s a win for tenants and homeowners. has been priced,”Augustus said in a statement.

State officials expect 2% transfer fee tax to result $784 million In fiscal 2022, more than half came from commercial real estate sales.

Why the real estate industry opposes transfer taxes

Critics cast doubt on transfer tax it works and feel it meeting actually hurt the real estate market. Boston office vacancy rate reaches Growth of 23% in the first quarter of 2024——Reached the highest level since 2010.

Massachusetts communities can actually Lose money if changes occur Implemented, according to a Report from the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) and Tufts University. The report found that if a 2% transfer tax were imposed in 2023, For every dollar of tax collected, The community may lose up to $0.60.

While the GBREB/Tufts report highlights the need for new housing, including affordable housing, it asserts that a transfer tax is not a viable solution because it would disincentivize property sales.Far from helping alleviate the affordable housing problem, a transfer tax will actually Putting pressure on some of the most distressed housing markets could lead to rising rents, the report found.

“Massachusetts needs effective solutions to address the housing crisis and This study should tell governors, legislators and local leaders that new taxes won’t work. said in a statement. “The Commonwealth must avoid passing misguided policies such as transfer taxes and instead focus on workable solutions that promote new housing, reduce red tape and ensure that the entire Commonwealth participates in a stronger housing future.”

At the same time, a Report separately Boston’s proposed transfer tax finds it would reduce sales and lower prices equal to tax level.

What the bill means for real estate investors

Massachusetts isn’t the only state introducing a transfer tax to address the affordable housing crisis. Last year, Los Angeles’ so-called “mansion tax” took effect, imposing a 4% tax on properties valued at more than $5 million and a 5.5% tax on sales of more than $10 million.

While the initiative has raised approximately $215 million, it is also Hindering Los Angeles’ luxury real estate market. This is also Less money was raised than initially expected, which critics say proves the tax doesn’t really work.

along with Massachusetts’ housing market is already under significant pressure from high living costs and increased immigration into the state, and a transfer tax could make the situation worse. Those looking to sell luxury homes priced over $1 million possible Find other ways to sell or not sell at all.At the same time, commercial real estate possible hit hardest In a period of time The state’s housing market is worrisome at a time when it’s already under extreme stress.

In other words, for real estate investors in the Massachusetts market, now may be the time to look elsewhere for opportunities. this Commercial Luxury Real Estate space.

Notes on BiggerPockets: These are the opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BiggerPockets.

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