A ballot measure which would allow individuals 55 years of age and older to transfer their property tax basis to any home in the state could receive a boost from REALTORS® in the state.

Directors of the California Association of Realtors (CAR) voted to place a $100 assessment on each of the association’s approximately 180,000 members. This vote took place at the director’s annual fall meetings, held earlier this month in San Diego.

Proposition 13 property tax breaks would be extended to young homeowners who sell their residence and buy a new one.

The proposal would allow homeowners of any age to carry a portion of their existing property tax rate across county lines when they purchase a new house. Homeowners often are reluctant to switch houses, given that Proposition 13’s cap on annual property taxes ends once they sell and move somewhere else.

“A lot of people kind of feel locked into their properties,” said Alex Creel, a lobbyist for the California Association of Realtors, who filed the proposed initiative. “This will free up those folks.”

The new tax rate, Creel said, would be based on a “blended” value of the old and new properties, and could be considerably lower than the market rate property tax otherwise assessed once a new home is bought.

Homeowners older than 55 in certain counties can already transfer existing property tax rates to a new home of equal or less value.

Creel’s initiatives, though, would expand the program. One version would retain the age restriction, but make the program available statewide. Two other versions would remove all age limits, likely enticing young homeowners to sell and buy homes.

The $100-per-member assessment will get the ball rolling.

According to background material supplied to the CAR directors, the assessment would only provide part of the funds needed. It estimates the cost of circulating the initiative for signature gathering at $3 million, with the cost of the subsequent campaign ranging between $30 million and perhaps upward of $50 million, if the initiative is heavily contested.

Funding would come from CAR political action committees, reserves, NAR funds and the CAR member assessment.

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