by Eric Berman - firstname.lastname@example.org - 781-839-5507
WALTHAM, Mass. – June 18, 2019 – Over 450 Massachusetts Realtors® poured into the State House on Wednesday to participate in the 34th annual Margaret C. Carlson Realtor® Day on Beacon Hill. The annual lobbying day gave Realtors® the opportunity to discuss with their legislators the key issues that impact consumers, housing and the economy. Massachusetts State Representative and Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing Kevin Honan gave the keynote address and discussed the importance of housing in Massachusetts and overcoming barriers to increase production.
“The huge turnout this year speaks to the character of Realtors® and their willingness to advocate on behalf of homeowners and future homeowners,” said 2019 MAR President Anne Meczywor, broker/associate at Roberts & Associates Realty Inc. in Lenox. “Advocacy begins at the grassroots level, that’s why our member participation is so important.”
Realtors® met with their elected officials to discuss the following issues:
Housing Production: An Act to promote housing choices provides incentives, rewards, and technical assistance to cities and towns to encourage and empower municipalities to plan and build the additional housing that the Commonwealth needs to continue to thrive. Notably, this bill reduces the local voting threshold from a super majority to a simple majority for a number of key Realtor® zoning priorities including: accessory dwelling units, multifamily zoning, and cluster development..
Expanding Homeownership Opportunities: An Act authorizing the establishment of first-time homebuyer savings accounts permits future home buyers to deposit up to $5,000 per year into a First Time Home Buyer Savings Account and then claim that contribution as a deduction on their income tax. This measure will help people save towards homeownership, leading in-turn to wide-ranging economic and community benefits, including payment of property taxes, local business patronization, and community stability.
Continuing Education: An Act further regulating the continuing education requirements for real estate brokers and salespersons enhances the Real Estate Board’s ability to self-govern Realtor® continuing education. This bill will align real estate with other licensed professions and assure that Realtor® continuing education remains relevant and nimble facing changes in technology and the profession.
Climate Resiliency: An Act relative to GreenWorks creates a bonding program to fund climate resiliency programs in the Commonwealth. Realtors® understand the effects of climate change on Massachusetts and real estate. We support funding these important programs through the equitable GreenWorks bonding plan that spreads the cost for a statewide benefit across all Massachusetts residents rather than placing the burden solely on home buyers and sellers.
Real Estate Transfer Taxes: Realtors® strongly oppose real estate transfer taxes, which would authorize the creation of a new transfer tax on the sale of property in a municipality. The imposition of this type of new sales tax on homes could have serious implications for the Massachusetts economy and set the wrong precedent for the Commonwealth’s tax policies.
The Governor proposed a transfer tax in the form a 50% increase in the deeds excise tax in a bill entitled, An Act providing for climate change adaptation infrastructure investments in the Commonwealth in addition, Massachusetts communities facing budgetary deficiencies regularly seek transfer tax authority to solve local revenue problems. Singling out home buyers and sellers to pay additional taxes in order to solve these community-wide problems is inequitable and exacerbates the housing crisis by creating an entrance or exit fee to homeownership.
Mandatory Energy Scoring and Audits: These bills seek to require sellers or their agents to perform a mandatory energy audit prior to listing a home for sale and disclose to any prospective buyer the information in the audit at the time of the listing. Over and above having an enormous impact on an individual’s right to freely transfer land, such requirements would negatively affect the real estate industry in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is home to some of the oldest housing stock in the country and mandatory energy scoring of such older homes would significantly stigmatize and potentially devalue an individual’s largest investment.
About the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®:
Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® is a professional trade organization with more than 25,000 members. The term Realtor® is registered as the exclusive designation of members of the National Association of Realtors® who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and enjoy continuing education programs.
Editors and reporters: Please note that the term Realtor is properly spelled with an initial capital “R”, per the Associated Press Stylebook.