Healey Files $4 Billion Bill Helping Support Affordable Housing

Gov. Healey at Housing Assistance Corporation on Cape Cod.

BARNSTABLE – Members of the Cape and Islands legislative delegation have voiced support for Governor Maura Healey’s recently announced Affordable Homes Act, which proposes investments and actions to address the housing crisis.

The $4 billion dollar package includes a local option transfer fee to support affordable housing projects, a provision long-sought by local housing advocates.

Among other changes, the bill would create a Seasonal Communities Designation and Seasonal Communities Local Option Property Tax Exemption to support municipalities that economically depend on seasonal tourism.

This bill would also reform certain zoning policies, such as easing requirements for the use of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

“On Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, the housing crisis has caused our region to become profoundly unaffordable,” said Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr.

“The Healey-Driscoll Administration’s Affordable Homes Act is a huge step forward in our long-sought efforts to implement a local option transfer fee on luxury real estate, in addition to other creative initiatives such as seasonal designations for communities impacted by tourism and Accessory Dwelling Unit permitting by right,” Cyr said.

Local officials have stated working people across all sectors are struggling to stay on Cape Cod and in the state of Massachusetts, and prospective residents are turning down opportunities to work here because they cannot find housing.

The Governor’s proposal allows municipalities and regional affordable housing commissions to adopt a transfer fee between 0.5% and 2.0%, which would be paid by the seller of real property on the portion of sale proceeds over $1 million or the county median home sales price, whichever is greater.

Revenue from this fee, in turn, would need to be used for affordable housing purposes.

The housing crisis is particularly severe on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. 

According to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, between 2016 and 2022, the price of a single-family home in Barnstable County increased by 83%; and when comparing December 2016 to December 2022, the total single-family home inventory decreased by 76%.

Nearly 20 municipalities have filed transfer fee home rule petitions across Massachusetts, including Provincetown, Chilmark, Edgartown, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, Truro, Chatham, Wellfleet, and West Tisbury on the Cape and Islands.

About Zachary Clapp

Zack is a graduate from Cape Cod Community College who is an avid sports fan and loves everything radio.  Zack joined the CapeCod.com NewsCenter in 2023.

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