Counties Embrace New Tools to Defend Affordable Housing

On February 21, 2023, MACo submitted testimony before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 0474 – Sale of Residential Real Property – Offers to Purchase and Transfer Tax.

This bill authorizes those selling single-family residential property to employ a limited duration “preference period” during which they accept only those offers made by individuals, community development organizations, nonprofits, or qualifying real estate enterprises. In conjunction with other tools provided for in HB 0474, this has the effect of dissuading institutional real estate investors from artificially inflating the cost of housing by purchasing large volumes of housing stock quickly. With the lack of affordable housing in the State reaching crisis levels, counties applaud this effort to keep housing prices at a manageable level.

From the MACo Testimony:

HB 474 seeks to address a major concern for many first-time homebuyers: significant competition from private equity. Increasingly during the COVID-19 pandemic, major real estate investors have been buying up large swaths of housing stock as soon as it hits the market, with the intention of either re-selling those properties at a higher rate or turning them into rentals. These investors vastly outgunned many prospective Maryland homebuyers, denying a sizeable portion the ability to build lasting equity.

More on MACo’s Advocacy:

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2023 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database

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Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties