The Howard County Council considered two measures directly affecting county residents May 27. County Resolution (CR) 84 and 85, would have increased both the county’s transfer and recordation taxes, which are two of three taxes currently charged on Howard County home sales.

Together, these resolutions would have levied thousands of dollars in additional taxes on residents and made Howard County the most expensive place to buy and sell a home in the state of Maryland.

The Howard County Association of REALTORS (HCAR) staunchly opposed both resolutions and spearheaded a robust member Call for Action against them. HCAR also joined with other members of the housing and business community to testify against CR 84 and CR 85, noting that raising taxes during a pandemic would make buying a home more difficult and place the County at a competitive disadvantage for job growth.

As a result of those actions, the Council voted yesterday to reduce the local transfer tax increase in CR 84 from the proposed 1.5 percent down to 1.25 percent while the recordation tax changes under CR 85 were defeated.

“While we are pleased that the Council scaled back the transfer tax rate in CR 84 and defeated CR 85, yesterday’s actions still result in a tax increase of over $1,000 on the typical Howard County home sale,” says HCAR Board of Directors President Lisa Wissel. “It will have real impacts on first-time buyers, those who are currently in the process of buying or selling a home, or those may need to in the near future due to job loss or reductions in income during the pandemic.”

Wissel thanked the over 400 HCAR REALTORS® and REALTOR® affiliates who participated in the Call for Action. “We showed up in force against increases that would prove detrimental to the American dream of homeownership,” she says. “REALTORS® will continue to represent the best interests of our clients on these and other legislative proposals both now and in the future.”