Two Boston city councilors are proposing a solution that they said could help people on the bottom of the economic ladder avoid getting priced out of Boston.
"So many residents cannot afford to stay in their neighborhoods, in their homes," said City Councilor Kim Janey.
Janey and fellow Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards are co-sponsoring legislation to help address what they say is a housing crisis in the city.
The home rule petition calls for a 3 percent fee on the purchase price of property, payable by the seller, and another 3 percent, payable by the buyer, on transactions over $2 million, with exemptions for owner-occupied property.
In addition, properties that are transferred, or flipped, within a 24-month period would be subject to a fee of up to 25 percent.
"The sale and transfer of properties is really contributing to a very hot real estate market, which may benefit some folks," Janey said. "But for the average person, it puts home ownership and just even rentals out of reach for folks."
Janey predicts that up to $300 million could be raised to fund affordable housing.
Greater Boston Real Estate Board President Greg Vasil argues this is the wrong way to solve the problem.
"We have members that are a part of this board that build affordable housing that could benefit from more money for affordable housing for subsidies," Vasil said. "They wouldn't support a transfer tax because that's not the right way. You don't want to take the money out of the deal or drive the cost of that deal up."
The legislation would need the support of the full City Council, and Mayor Marty Walsh.
"We're going to look at it and see, you know," Walsh said. "We're doing a balance here."
Even with the mayor's support, the home rule petition would need the approval of the state Legislature.