New mansion tax will 'chase people out of LA': Million Dollar Listing's Josh Altman

·3-min read

In efforts to fund affordable housing programs, Los Angeles is imposing a new tax on some of its wealthiest residents and their homes. Josh Altman, star of the reality tv series "Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles" and Altman Brothers Real Estate co-founder, takes issue with the new law.

“Yeah, of course, it's great because it helps homeless and affordable housing,” Altman recently told Yahoo Finance. “But they didn't think about the other side of this measure here, where it's going to actually chase people out of LA that are going to take their thousands and thousands of jobs and employees that they employ with them.”

Measure ULA will take effect on April 1st and slap a 4% tax on properties that are selling for from $5 million to $10 million and a 5.5% tax on those selling for over $10 million. The tax will sit atop the half percent Los Angeles residents currently pay on their homes.

“The issue is, these people that have bought houses two years ago and for some reason, they want to sell their house now, not only are they going to be down because the market's down, but now they have to cut that 4% and 5.5% check out of their pocket, off of their loss,” Altman said. “How crazy is that?"

Altman said that his firm has experienced a striking uptick in deals as the Los Angeles elite looked to sell their homes before the tax was implemented. He remarked he had even been offered a million dollar bonus on top of a commission he could close one particular deal.

“I can tell you, I have seen more deals get done this month in the month of March than I've seen in my entire 20 years of being in some aspect of real estate — it is just out of control right now.” Altman said. “Everyone's trying to close. The clock's ticking.”

Real estate agent Josh Altman speaks at a panel for the Bravo television series
Real estate agent Josh Altman speaks at a panel for the Bravo television series "Million Dollar Listing" during the Television Critics Association Cable Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California July 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT REAL ESTATE BUSINESS MEDIA)

Altman asserted that the new tax would hurt the Los Angeles real estate market, arguing that it would be to the detriment of the collective rather than just those wealthy individuals looking to sell their homes.

“It's going to trickle down all the way to the bottom.” Altman said. “If people think they were not going to be affected because they don't have homes that are worth more than 5 million, I promise you, they are going to be affected because their houses, too, are going to go down in price.”

Altman insisted that he supports alternative forms of help for the homeless.

“I'm all about housing for homeless, affordable housing,” Altman said. “But there's better ways to do it, and it's not just on houses. It's also on commercial properties, investment properties, across the board.”

He added that some of his peers in other parts of California were anticipating similar tax laws, noting that employees in his Newport Beach office were fearful such a law might later come to their city and of the effects it could have on the real estate industry going forward.

"All I know is we just did have the biggest month of our career, not because I wanted it to be, but because, unfortunately, it was a race to the finish line." Altman said. "And we closed over $200 million this month in real estate. But I have a feeling we're going to have to save that money for a long time coming."

Dylan Croll is a reporter and researcher at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @CrollonPatrol.

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