With real estate speculation emerging as a leading issue of concern at a spring tenant convention, the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition on Tuesday filed an anti-speculation tax initiative for the November election.
The measure, crafted primarily with Supervisor Eric Mar, also received signatures from Supervisors David Campos, Jane Kim and John Avalos to put it on the ballot. It would impose a graduated real estate transfer tax on short-term property flips when a profit is made from the sale. If the re-sale is within the first year of purchase, the tax would be 24 percent of the re-sale price. Taxes would drop to 22 percent within two years of purchase, 20 percent within three years, 18 percent within four years and 14 percent within five years.
The City must keep housing affordable to long-term residents including those who are low- and middle-income, Mar said at a rally on the steps of City Hall.
"If we pass this measure in November," he said, "we have a fighting chance to accomplish these goals."
The idea of an anti-speculation tax dates back to the 1970s. It was one of the final pieces of legislation that former Supervisor Harvey Milk worked on before he was assassinated.
Speculators have made millions of dollars flipping properties in The City, Campos said.
"This is about telling speculators there is a price to pay, and you have to pay your fair share of taxes when you do that," he said.
Coalition members will lead a rigorous grass-roots campaign in support of the measure, said Ted Gullicksen, executive director of the San Francisco Tenants Union.
"We will be tempered by the real estate industry spending millions of dollars against it," he said. "But we're confident we can get it passed."