San Juan County officials explain ‘Home Fund’

Submitted by San Juan County

What is the “Home Fund?” The Home Fund is a ballot measure (Proposition 1) that will be on the ballot this November.

The Home Fund is a proposed local affordable housing funding source recommended to the county council by the housing bank commission as part of the actions assigned in the Affordable Housing Strategic Action Plan. The council passed Resolution 24-2018 in May setting an election for the imposition of a one-half of one percent (0.5 percent) real estate excise tax, or REET, as the revenue source for a new Home Fund.

A REET is applied to the sale of real property. It is a one-time fee paid at the time of a real estate sale and is not an ongoing property tax nor retroactive on prior sales.

The purchaser is responsible for paying 99 percent of the REET, with the seller responsible for the remaining 1 percent. For example, the sale of a home priced at $500,000 would incur a REET of $2,500 of which the seller would be responsible for $25. The 0.5 percent amount is authorized and set by RCW 82.46.075. The county does not have authority to change this rate, nor the rates of other REETs currently in effect in the county until their sunset dates.

The REET would serve the largest population of any available housing funding measure, up to 115 percent of the area-median income. Examples of jobs that may qualify with salaries at or below 115 percent of median income include: teachers, medical lab technicians, firefighters, retail clerks, mechanics, senior services specialists, maintenance workers and many more.

If approved by voters, the Home Fund would run for 12 years and generate an estimated $15,166,505 for affordable housing projects in San Juan County, and could attract an additional $47,131,433 in federal, state and private funding for those projects.

The San Juan County Department of Health and Community Services, with oversight, input and direction provided by the county council, would administer programs funded by the REET. Learn more about the Ccunty’s adopted plan for managing this fund.

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