Builders, Environmentalists, Housing Advocates Unite To Protect Transfer Fees

In a truly unusual array of political forces, developers have joined with environmentalists and housing advocates to oppose a bill sponsored by realtors that would eliminate the use of transfer fees to finance open space and affordable housing.

"The strange bedfellows fell in together after the Realtors sponsored a bill, SB 670 by Santa Ana Democrat Sen. Lou Correa, that would eliminate the use of an increasingly popular class of fees charged to homebuyers in order to fund environmental and affordable-housing projects."

"It's the first time in my memory that we've been on opposite sides," said Alex Creel with the Realtors group, normally staunch allies of the developers and builders.

"Builders often face stiff opposition to new home subdivisions and demands that they set aside money to pay for low-income housing, or to pay for environmental restoration and open space. Over the last several years, developers have added these new fees to eliminate opposition from housing advocates and environmentalists. Those fees are passed on to homebuyers in new subdivisions."

The financing mechanism gives builders a way to spread the costs of affordable housing, environmental mitigation or the acquisition of open space out over several years -- and several homebuyers -- rather than having to pay it all up front, or shifting all of that cost to the first homebuyer."

Thanks to Bill Allayaud

Full Story: Unusual Suspects

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