Real Estate Excise tax for affordable housing proposed

San Juan County Council will listen to a presentation from county Health and Community Services Department proposing a 0.5 percent Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) for affordable housing at  the Tuesday, February 13 council meeting in the Legislative Building at 55 Second Street in Friday Harbor. The presentation is the third item in the meeting's 9:15 a.m. time slot. 

The meeting can be viewed online - live or recorded. Documents for the meeting can be viewed by clicking on the meeting and then on the links to documents. 

According to the presentation materials:

If approved by voters in November 2018, the 2018 San Juan County Affordable Housing Levy is expected to generate $15.2 million over a 12‐year period to develop, produce, and/or preserve affordable housing in San Juan County.

The Affordable Housing Levy will be used exclusively for the development of affordable housing including acquisition, building, rehabilitation, and maintenance of housing for very low, low, and moderate-income persons and those with special needs.

If approved by voters, the Affordable Housing Levy will include a Real Estate Excise Tax authorized for twelve years, from December 2018 through 2030. This levy is enabled by RCW 82.46.075.

The Affordable Housing Levy is not a property tax but rather a Real Estate Excise Tax, which is an additional excise tax on the purchase and sale of real property in the county at the rate of one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the selling price.

Revenues from the Levy will be deposited into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and the San Juan County Housing Bank will administer the two programs funded by the Trust Fund:

1.The Production and Preservation of Homes Program

2.The Acquisition and Opportunity Bridge Loans Program

Funding applications for these programs will be reviewed by County Housing Bank Staff, who will create proposals and recommendations to the Housing Bank Commission. The Housing Bank Commission will review staff proposals and then make recommendations to the County Council. The County Council will then accept or reject Housing Bank Commission recommendations and award funding to accepted projects.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of projects funded by the Affordable Housing Levy, projects shall be given priority that:

Meet the standards and goals identified in the Notice of Funds Available (NOFA);

Provide durable housing that is cost effective and financially viable;

Are sponsored by a nonprofit organization(s) that have demonstrated ability, stability and resources to implement projectand steward affordability in the future;

Provide perpetual affordability as defined in San Juan County Code2.27;

Leverage support from other sources, including private donations, private investments and other grants and/or loans. In order to leverage the limited funding available from the Affordable Housing Levy and to achieve the greatest possible overall impact in meeting the County’s Affordable Housing needs, funds awarded for any project shall generally constitute a minority share of proposed total project costs;

Promote the development of a continuing local capability to construct and maintain affordable housing by using local developer, builders, subcontractors, suppliers and workers; and

Contribute to countywide efforts to end homelessness by providing housing that serves individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

If the council decides to move forward a public hearing will be scheduled.



  • Gail Thursday, 15 February 2018 07:49 Comment Link

    If you want this TAX, then reduce the land bank tax!#! This is just to much to burden those who live on the under million dollar properties

  • a person Monday, 12 February 2018 12:16 Comment Link

    I agree - sales tax might be the best way to tackle the problem.

  • a person Monday, 12 February 2018 12:06 Comment Link

    Perhaps the tax should only apply to properties over a million? Individuals paying 300-500k are struggling anyway - why make things worse?

  • Mark Fishaut MD FAAP Monday, 12 February 2018 09:34 Comment Link

    Time to FINALLY reduce or sunset the ridiculous 1% Land Bank real estate excise tax and take care of people.

  • Sam jones Monday, 12 February 2018 07:21 Comment Link

    Why not add this tax on to the sales tax,that water everybody helps pay not just some.This place is already over taxed. You could also pay a living wage. Just some thoughs.


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