Two opinions on transfers fees reveal details on affordable housing and incentives for building more housing.
"For too long, affordable homes have been out of reach for people across the Commonwealth. But a tool exists that can help communities solve this persistent problem: a real estate transfer fee.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is seeking the Legislature’s approval of a home rule petition for a transfer fee of up to 2 percent on real estate sales of $2 million or more in the city. The money would pay for new affordable housing and provide tax cuts for low-income seniors.
Like Boston, Somerville, Concord, Cambridge, Arlington, Brookline, Nantucket, Provincetown, and Chatham have already passed local home rule petitions calling for transfer fees. The Legislature should approve the proposals and also consider legislation giving all communities across the state the option of imposing transfer fees. "
"What can be done? Housing activists and those in the business of building homes should get on the same page and support policies that will increase supply. Highly restrictive neighborhood zoning needs to be changed to reflect the fact that Boston needs height and density to house more of the people who want to come here or remain here when they retire.The City of Boston’s legendarily long permitting cycle also should be revised. Permitting a new apartment building takes years when it needs approvals from Boston agencies, including Planning and Development, Zoning, Boston Civic Design Inspectional Services, Transportation, Water and Sewer, Air Pollution Control, Conservation, Public Improvement, Public Works, and others. And that doesn’t include state and federal hurdles."
|SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF|