Kenneth R. Harney
The Wall Street Journal
August 10, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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Can you name a housing controversy that pulls Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, consumer advocates, labor unions representing transport workers and government employees, the title insurance industry, the National Council of La Raza, libertarian and property rights groups and the National Assn. of Realtors all together into a protest coalition demanding quick action from the Obama administration?

A more unlikely collection of real estate bedfellows is hard to imagine. Yet at the end of July, 11 groups with widely divergent agendas and memberships formed something called the Coalition to Stop Wall Street Home Resale Fees.

The target of their protest: private transfer fees being attached as liens on homes and requiring successions of property owners to pay a fee every time the house or lot resells during the coming 99 years. Though proponents say the concept helps real estate developers raise capital for projects by bringing in Wall Street investors, critics contend the liens amount to a perpetual money machine that lowers equity values for unsuspecting consumers and complicates real estate sales.

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