A bill is on the table in Nevada to raise the real estate transfer tax to help fund affordable housing in the state. Whether or not the governor would sign off on that proposal remains to be seen.
The proposed measure would raise the real property transfer tax in the state by 20 centers for every $500 of sales value, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The tax would jump from 65 cents to 85 cents.
That doesn’t seem like a lot, but it could add up when considering more expensive homes. For instance, the median-priced home in Las Vegas is $425,000. Should the law pass, the taxes paid on that sale would increase by $170.
Money from the tax would go toward an account dedicated to housing assistance. The fund would provide assistance to both supportive housing and very low-income housing, 25 percent of which would be allocated to the region’s housing authority.
Affordable housing is a need in Nevada, just as it is elsewhere in the country. A census last year determined more than 5,600 people lived in either shelters or on the streets and 14,000 people in Southern Nevada were estimated to have experienced homelessness.
Mental health advocates are among those in support of the bill, noting in testimony how mental health disorders affect access to affordable housing. Opponents of the bill include the Nevada Realtors — likely wary of how the bill may affect transactions and, as a byproduct, commissions — along with lobbyists with the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada Association of Counties.
Even if the measure passes, its likelihood of being enacted doesn’t seem high. Gov. Joe Lombardo has pledged not to seek new taxes or raise existing ones, predisposing him to rejecting a bill that would do exactly that.
Municipalities are increasingly looking towards tax acts to increase funding for affordable housing. Next month, all property that trades in Los Angeles for more than $10 million will face an additional 5.5 percent tax from the city, which plans to use the revenue for affordable housing development and rent relief.
— Holden Walter-Warner