Field Guide to Real Estate Transfer Taxes

(Updated October 2016)

Real estate transfer taxes are state and local taxes that are assessed on real property when ownership of the property is transferred between parties. Although proponents say real estate transfer taxes are necessary to help fund state services, opponents view them as an unwarranted tax on home sales. The articles and studies in this Field Guide examine what transfer taxes are and their impacts on the real estate market, and provide resources on current transfer tax laws and initiatives. (H. Hester, Information & Digitization Specialist)

E – EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

Transfer Tax Basics

Transfer Taxes, (NAR State Issues Tracker, 2015). – After signing-in, select Transfer Taxes from the menu on the left for information on transfer tax laws in each state.

The fight against transfer taxes, (HouseLogic, Jan. 2015).

Home Transfer and Recording Taxes, (, 2015).

Real estate transfer taxes, (National Conference of State Legislatures, Sept. 2012). – Table describing the real estate transfer tax and tax rate for each state.

Recent Transfer Tax Initiatives

Transfer: New York: ALJ Rules in Favor of Taxpayer in RETT Matter, (Deloitte, 2016).

Texas Homestead Exemption for School District Property Taxes Amendment, Proposition 1 (2015), (Ballotpedia).

Michigan House Bill 4173: Revise principle residence property tax exemption claim process (2015), (Michigan Votes).

North Dakota Property Transfer Tax Ban Amendment, Measure 2 (2014), (Ballotpedia).

Impacts of Transfer Taxes

Did the Land Transfer Tax Reduce Housing Sales in Toronto, (Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, 2016).

Transfer Taxes Are Now a Costly Consideration in Real Estate Transactions, (American Property Tax Counsel, 2015).

Mansion tax: The effect of transfer taxes on the residential real estate market, (Columbia University, May 2014).

Potential impacts of increases in real estate transfer taxes, (NAR Research, Aug. 2003).

Books, eBooks & Other Resources

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Potential Impacts of Increases in Real Estate Transfer Taxes, (Washington, DC: National Association of REALTORS®, 2003). HJ 4120 N21pi

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to 1031 Exchanges

Field Guide to Private Transfer and Development Impact Fees

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.

Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.