Forty-four states require mandatory disclosure of the sales price of real estate transactions, thirty-nine of which require the disclosure to be public. Alaska does not require disclosure but municipalities have the option to require it which CBJ has done by ordinance.
Realtors claim the Juneau ordinance has to do with privacy, but the Realtors don’t want to give up their monopoly on real estate transaction information which they have through their private Multiple Listing Service – to which the CBJ Assessor does not have access. Without accurate sales information, CBJ can only guess about true property values. Realtors prefer that they alone have property sales information and oppose real estate sales price transparency.
Absent accurate data on real estate sales, there is a tendency for high-valued properties to be systemically under-assessed and lower-value properties over-assessed, especially under circumstances where annual assessments ratchet up at a uniform percentage across a community. Without disclosure, it’s likely that lower value property owners will pay a disproportionate share of the local property taxes. Furthermore, commercial property, which doesn’t change hands very often, is exceptionally difficult to assess without the sales information provided by the current ordinance.
You probably noticed the vote yes on Prop 4 signs up around town. The Realtors have every incentive to oppose and fund the campaign to get rid of sales disclosure. Vote no on Proposition 4.