Realtors spending $1.4M to head off San Francisco transfer tax

Realtors are throwing their weight behind a campaign to defeat a San Francisco ballot measure that would attempt to address the city’s skyrocketing rents by imposing an additional transfer tax on multi-unit residential properties sold within five years of purchase.

Measure G would impose the highest tax rate — 24 percent — on properties sold within one year, with the rate gradually declining to 14 percent for property owned between four and five years.

Opponents say it will also apply to single-family homes with in-law units — a claim Measure G supporters characterize as one of many “lies” being circulated to scare voters into defeating the measure on Nov. 4. (The bottom line seems to be that the transfer tax would not apply if in-law units are owner-occupied, but would apply if they are rented, which could prompt homeowners who rent in-law units to take them off the market.)

The National Association of Realtors recently wrote an $800,000 check to the “No on G” campaign. The California Association of Realtors had kicked in $425,000 through Sept. 30, and San Francisco Association of Realtors $182,000. Dozens of local real estate brokers and agents have also opened up their checkbooks. Source: sfethics.org.