The One Percenters aren’t discouraged by our tax system

Every time someone suggests raising taxes on the wealthy, there’s an immediate outcry that we can’t risk driving them out of Vermont. The most frequent crier is Governor Shumlin himself, who insists that wealthy Vermonters are already fleeing the state in droves. He’s got no evidence, and studies have shown little to no out-migration by the rich after state tax increases.

Plus, there’s the well-documented fact that top earners get the best deal of anyone under Vermont’s current tax system. And now comes Lisa McCormack of the Stowe Reporter with a story crossposted on VTDigger:

LUXURY HOUSING MARKET IS BRISK IN STOWE

Yeah, turns out that while property taxes are hurting the middle class, the wealthy are undeterred from buying top-shelf second homes. The numbers:

2014 was “the strongest year in the luxury market since 2009.” Overall sales of residential units in Stowe were up by nine percent, the “average sales price was $598,870, up 10 percent compared to 2013.” And…

The median price — the point at which half of homes sold for more, and half for less — rose 30 percent to $485,000.

The market shows no sign of slowing down, according to area Realtors.

One broker describes “a really strong and stable market… [that] is showing potential for long-term growth.”

The majority of residential sales in Stowe are to second-home buyers, “looking for investment properties.” Especially at the upper end of the market. So not only are they undeterred from buying — they believe that Vermont vacation homes will continue to rise in value. Which wouldn’t be the case if the One Percent were abandoning Vermont.

Meanwhile, the rest of Lamoille County is lagging. Residential sales were up, but the median sale price actually decreased by three percent. The wealth gap widens.

This isn’t decisive proof that there’s more room to tax the rich. But it’s further evidence against the fearmongering of Shumlin and his fellow-travelers.

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