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Transfer fee could boost affordable housing

The following letter was submitted by Rachel Roth of Arlington.

Housing prices slyrocket

I am stunned by how much the cost of housing in Arlington has increased since my family moved here about 20 years ago. Renovated upstairs units in two-family condos routinely list for $1 million, and to rent the average two-bedroom apartment, someone must earn $41.64 per hour, more than twice the minimum wage – and that’s for the entire state, not just high-cost areas like greater Boston.1

We are fortunate to have Reps. Dave Rogers and Michael Day fighting for housing security, such as the right to have an attorney when facing eviction, yet there is so much more to do, including in the governor’s housing bill, unveiled last October.

The bill would be improved by adding options for cities and towns to raise money with local real estate transfer fees or implement rent control. According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, with a robust real estate transfer fee, Arlington could raise almost $8 million each year for affordable housing, and Winchester could raise over $9 million.2

I ask our reps to keep pushing for strong housing laws with both statewide commitments to adequate and affordable housing production and allowances for some locally tailored options as well.

1 Source for income needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment, Boston Globe, June 14, 2023 >> >> 

2 Source for local real estate transfer fee estimates, >>

This letter was published Thursday, April 4, 2024.

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Tuesday, 18 June 2024

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