Real Estate Transfer Tax Proposal Passed by Boston City Council

January 20, 2020

On Wednesday December 11, 2019, the Boston City Council voted Wednesday to approve a controversial new transfer tax to the state legislature which would apply up to a two percent tax on property sales over $2 million dollars. The proposal was initially offered by a home rule petition from City Councilors Lydia Edwards and Kim Janey in January 2019, and has been advertised as a measure to provide more funding for affordable housing programs in the city. Over the last few years, Boston has been climbing in the rankings of the most expensive cities in the U.S. for renters. Earlier this year, Boston Magazine reported that Boston also has one of the least affordable housing markets in the country.


The measure, if approved by the Massachusetts Legislature is projected to generate $168 million a year for affordable housing programs, according to Commonwealth Magazine. If passed, the new fee applied to these transactions will be split equally between the buyer and seller. The proposal came in response to complaints regarding the sharp increase in costs of living in the greater Boston area and to meet a demand for affordable housing that greatly exceeds the current supply. According to the Commonwealth report, Boston is not the only community seeking additional funding for affordable housing. Communities like Concord, Brookline, and Somerville have sent similar home rule petitions to the Massachusetts Legislature, and it is reported that neighboring Cambridge and Watertown are considering similar measures.



Boston Has One of the Least Affordable Housing Markets in the Country​


Boston approves fee on real estate transactions

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