Under the Dome

In video, realtors association vows to fight 'home tax'

The N.C. Association of Realtors is sending a message to Republican lawmakers considering a tax overhaul: don't hike the real estate transfer tax.

Senate Republicans put the item on the table in the debate. And now the association is responding with a new web video that signals it is prepared to fight the tax plan is the transfer tax is included.

The association is trying to fight the transfer tax and a sales tax on home purchases by labeling it a "tax on home ownership," just as they did in 2007 when lawmakers considered the issue. "Houses are beginning to move on the market," Patrice Willets, the association's president. "So public policy makers in Raleigh should be careful not to assess new taxes that could threaten the real estate industry and push our state back into a recession."

"Realtors have fought the home tax before and we stand ready to fight it again," she added.


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Fuzzy numbers

Willets may be right that the North Carolina residential real estate market is inching towards recovery but she is lying when she claims more than 31,000 Realtors in the state. According to National Association of Realtors membership statistics the North Carolina Chapter reported 29,679 members in January 2013. The all time high membership was about 44,000 in 2007. This is the second time in the last year that membership has dipped below 30,000 and it has not risen above 31,000 in the same period. Membership has essentially flat-lined.

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