New Hampshire Senate OKs real estate transfer tax cut for first-time buyers

Reduction would reduce rate for purchases under $300,000

The NH Senate unanimously voted last week to cut a first-time homebuyers’ real estate transfer tax by a third, if the home in question sells for $300,000 or less.

“This bill will provide a incentive for first-time homebuyers to come here, or to stay here and purchase a home,” said Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 301. “We are starting to talk about real money and a real inducement to purchase.”

The bill would reduce the rate of transfer tax from 75 cents to 50 cents per $100 in valuation for two years, retroactively starting on Jan. 1 of this year, while the Department of Revenue Administration tries to figure out what impact the tax cut would have on the state treasury. If nothing is done, the tax cut would sunset at the end of 2019.

The bill has the support of the NH Association of Realtors.

The Ways and Means Committee originally recommended killing the bill, but Bradley came in with a compromise amendment that would limit the price of the home in question to $300,000, precisely to allay its concern.

In a previous estimate, the DRA said that the original bill could cost as much as $7.5 million, according to Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford.

But the department did not put that estimate or any other estimate on the bill, as it had no way of knowing how many first-time homebuyers there are state.

That is one of the things the Senate Finance Committee, which will get the bill for review, will try to find out.

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