The Healey administration is due to release a $4 billion bond bill today aimed at spurring housing production and boosting affordable home ownership in a state starved for inexpensive options.
The legislation is packed with policy proposals that have long floated on Beacon Hill, including granting municipalities the option of imposing a real estate transaction fee, an initiative that Mayor Michelle Wu and several other cities and towns have pushed at the state level this year.
Gov. Maura Healey said the proposal — which will need approval from and likely undergo rewrites by the House and Senate — supports the production, preservation, and rehabilitation of more than 65,000 homes statewide.
“It’s the largest housing investment in Massachusetts history. Together, we’re going to make our state a place where people can afford to move to and stay to build their future,” Healey said in a statement.
Healey proposed a real estate transaction fee of 0.5% to 2% on the portion of a property sale over $1 million, or the county median home sale price, with the revenue generated from the fee directed to affordable housing development.
The fee would be paid by the seller of real property, according to the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities. The fee is projected to affect fewer than 14% of all residential sales, the administration said.
Wu has advocated for a 2% real estate transfer fee on sales that exceed $2 million to help fund affordable housing development. At a legislative hearing last week, Wu said the “powerful tool that remains out of reach without legislative and gubernatorial approval is a transfer fee.”
“Revenue raised through this fee will help us build supportive housing and ensure that our seniors can stay in their homes,” Wu said at the hearing. “It will help build new homes for families who have been forced out by skyrocketing prices and make it possible for more first-time homebuyers to put down roots and raise their families here in Boston.”
In Healey’s proposal, officials said there are several exemptions to fee, including property sold for less than $1 million, or the median county sales price for single family homes. The fee would apply to every dollar over $1 million, according to the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities.
A city or town’s housing board or legislative body could adopt the fee by a majority vote, the Healey administration said.
The legislation directs $1.8 billion to housing production and preservation, including $425 million for a housing stabilization and investment fund, $175 million for municipal infrastructure projects that encourage dense developments, $100 million to incentivize the construction of affordable homes, $100 million to support middle-income housing production, and $50 million for mixed-income multifamily development.
Healey plans to sign three executive orders as she releases the bill, including one that directs two state agencies to develop an expanded inventory of government-controlled property suitable for housing.
Two other orders create a council tasked with developing a statewide housing plan and identify ways to streamline housing production.
Healey, Administration and Finance Secretary Matt Gorzkowicz, and Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus were scheduled to publicly discuss the legislation at a 9:30 a.m. event in Chelsea.
Previous Herald materials were used in this report.