The Connecticut General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee is considering a bill that would allow municipalities to charge a buyer’s fee on property transactions larger than $150,000.
House Bill 6926, introduced by Democratic Reps. Linda Orange, Kevin Ryan and Joe Gresko, would permit a municipality to impose a buyer’s fee on the conveyance of property occurring on or after July 1 at a top rate of 1 percent of the sales price. The fees collected would be placed in a separate account for the purchase, preservation and stewardship of open space.
Eric Hammerling, executive director of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, expressed his organization’s support for the bill. “State and federal grants to protect land typically require a local match, and this bill would authorize towns to generate a local source of funding to help preserve special places for the public,” he said. “I hope the bill will pass and that many towns will take advantage of the opportunity.”
Meanwhile, the Connecticut Association of Realtors (CAR) has expressed its opposition, maintaining that such additional costs would have a detrimental effect on home sales.
“To have legislators sit back and say, ‘Just add that 1 percent and we can use it to buy open space, what’s the difference?’ sounds well-intentioned,” said CAR President Michael Barbaro, “but we are the ones on the front lines, sitting at the closing table and we see that people just don’t have that extra 1 percent to spend. Homebuyers are maxed out.
“We are obviously pro-open space,” Barbaro said. “We think it’s a great thing. But (6926) is just not something we can support.”