State Roundup: Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maryland

April 1, 2006

Hawaii: Foiling flippers

State legislators are targeting real estate speculators with a bill, H.B. 2666, requiring people who sell a property within two years of acquisition to pay additional taxes on the sale. The bill is under review in the finance committee and takes aim at flipping, which lawmakers say is to blame for rapidly escalating housing prices on the islands. The median sales price for a single-family house in Maui rose 18 percent in 2005, to $725,000 from $594,500. The bill would multiply the rate of the state conveyance tax based on the number of times the property had been sold over the previous two years. The seller would pay the tax increase.

Massachusetts: Bad ads

The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons continues to see real estate ads that include the name of a salesperson but not that of the person’s broker, even though that’s a violation of state law, says Joseph Autilio, executive director of the board. In the state, licensees can’t advertise “the purchase, sale, rental, or exchange of any real property” under their own name unless the ad includes the name of their broker. Much of the problem is on Web ads, says Autilio.

MORE ONLINE: Massachusetts Advertising Rule

Maryland: Impact fees voted down

The Coastal Association of REALTORS® helped persuade Worcester County to drop a slow-growth proposal that would have required developers to pay hefty impact fees—$5,492 per single-family home, for example—for the green light to build. “Price increases caused by the development impact fee could have a chilling effect on sales of new homes in the county and eventually slow growth,” says CAR President Pat Terrill, who testified before the county commission in February. After Terrill and others spoke against the plan, the commission voted it down.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is the former director of multimedia communications at NAR.

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