There was a story in the N&O recently concerning the NC Association of Realtors fight against allowing County Commissioners the authority to impose a transfer tax on real estate.
The Realtors claim it is a tax on the American Dream. They've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars convincing state legislators that the people just won't stand for a tax that increases the costs for homebuyers.
They fail to point out that this bill only allows County Commissioners the authority. It does not pass a tax.
The Realtors argue that a 1% tax on real estate transfers is a tax on equity. They also, somewhat inconsistently, claim it will increase the cost of homes by 1%. (Either it taxes equity or it taxes the purchaser, which is it?)
The argument is disingenuous, yes. Ingenious? Also yes.
So here's an idea to cut them off at the knees. Amend the bill. Cap the potential transfer tax at 1%. Counties cannot go any higher. In return, include a provision that caps the percentage of a sale price which can be taken by a real estate professional at 5%.
Couties get their tax, with no net effect on the bottom line of the either the homeseller's equity or the amount the homebuyer has to spend to buy the American Dream.
Call their bluff. If they are truly concerned about our equity or housing affordability, they won't have any objection to this. If they are more concerned about their own bottom line, the truth will be revealed.