Who Bears the Burden of Real Estate Transfer Taxes? Evidence from the German Housing Market
35 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2021
Date Written: 2021
This paper examines the effects of real estate transfer taxes (RETT) on property prices using a rich micro dataset of roughly 17 million German properties for the period from 2005 to 2019. We exploit a 2006 constitutional reform that allows states to set their own RETT rates, leading to frequent increases in states’ tax rates in the subsequent years. Our monthly event study estimates indicate a price response that strongly exceeds the change in the tax burden for single transactions. Twelve months after a reform, a one percentage point increase in the tax rate reduces property prices by on average 3%. Effects are stronger for apartments and apartment buildings than for single-family houses. Moreover, negative price effects are predominantly found in growing housing market regions. Our results can be rationalized by a theoretical model that predicts larger price responses in sellers’ markets and for properties with a high transaction frequency.
JEL Classification: H220, H710, R320, R380
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation