Which Cities and States Will Join the “Mansion Tax” Club Next?

Higher taxes on high-value property sales are being considered in Chicago, Connecticut, and Washington state as a way to address the housing crisis.

1 minute read

February 12, 2024, 7:00 AM PST

By Mary Hammon

View of Chicago Old Town neighborhood with low-rise brick buildings in foreground and tall residential high-rises in background.

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One-time fees on the sale or purchase of property, often called real estate transfer or real estate excise taxes, are nothing new. As Kevin Hardy explains for Stateline, such fees have been a fixture of many tax codes for decades. “But local and state governments are increasingly looking to create a ‘mansion tax’ targeting the higher ends of the real estate market” with the aim of tackling the growing housing crisis, he writes.

To date, 16 cities and counties and seven states have approved that type of tax, many with the intent of putting the revenue to building affordable housing. Though not without pushback. The approach has led to litigation in Santa Fe and Los Angeles. But that’s not stopping other cities and states from considering it, including Chicago, Massachusetts, and Washington state, according to the Stateline article.

In March, “Chicago voters will decide whether to approve Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson’s Bring Chicago Home referendum, which would increase the real estate transfer tax on expensive properties. And legislators in Massachusetts are weighing a bill that would allow cities to impose their own real estate transfer fee,” Hardy reports. Washington state lawmakers are also considering a bill that would increase the tax on property sales above $3 million, while decreasing it for less expensive sales.

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