Wednesday, December 11, 2002

County may hike transfer tax

Property sellers would pay one more mill

By Jeff McKinney
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A proposal to boost the real estate transfer tax could cost property sellers in Hamilton County nearly $3 million next year.

The Hamilton County Commissioners are considering raising the tax from 2 to 3 mills effective Jan. 18, a 50 percent increase for sellers of homes, multifamily, farms and commercial property in the county.

The state collects an additional mill, so the new overall rate would be 4 mills if the county hike is approved.

If approved, the hike would mean that the total charge for a homeowner selling a $150,000 home would jump to $600, up from $450 now. On a $10 million commercial property, it would rise from $30,000 to $40,000. One mill is $1 per $1,000 of value of real estate property transferred.

"The transfer tax is so onerous," said Kathy Koops, president of the 4,000-member Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors."The county already gets an annual increase in the transfer tax (proceeds) due to appreciation of property."

Peter Hames, assistant county administrator, said the increase in the transfer tax would generate $9.3 million in revenue next year, an increase of $2.9 million.

He said the increase, which would take affect by February, is needed to make up for a reduction in sales tax revenue going into the county's general fund. The economic slowdown has hurt sales tax collections, while real estate sales continue to be strong.

"We think this is a very small and reasonable increase considering it's part of a $2 billion budget for 2003," Mr. Hames said.

But Ms. Koops said the "biggest impact is that it makes other (surrounding counties) more appealing than us. That (increase) is a pretty hefty chuck, particularly if trying to develop a commercial property."

The commissioners will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. today on the proposal.


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