Harwich Senator Proposes Split Real Estate Tax to Fund Housing

dwolfHARWICH – How will Cape towns solve what many are calling an affordable housing crisis?

State Sen. Dan Wolf (D-Harwich) addressed the concern while speaking at a Cape Cod Young Professionals breakfast last week.

His answer: Reshape real estate taxes.

Wolf proposed a “bifurcated real estate tax” which would let towns impose higher taxes on property deemed “high end” and use the revenue stream to fund a regional housing trust.

The trust would then subsidize “lower-end” rentals and home ownerships.

“There are a lot of opportunities to connect both of those extreme ends that are out of balance,” Wolf said, saying that Cape Cod has some of the lowest real estate taxes in the commonwealth.

Despite that, he said the area has the greatest housing need.

Some towns have already instituted tax incentives aimed at closing the affordable housing gap. Barnstable offers tax exemptions to homes that are considered by tenants as “primary.”

Wolf said however that, if his system was adopted, assessment for what exactly falls under the “high end” would have to account for the fact that not every resident in a high end home brings in a large income.

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