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Connecticut town bans For Sale signs in front of homes. Guess why

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Here’s an odd little story which is probably going to be cropping up more and more in blue states in the near future. The town of New Canaan, Connecticut is instituting a change this summer. Their Board of Realtors has passed a ban on “For Sale” signs placed in front of the properties where residents are selling their houses and moving away. Why is that? Well, if you ask the local government they’ll tell you that there’s simply no need for the signs anymore. Savvy shoppers are looking for houses online and besides… those signs are an eyesore anyway. (CBS New York)

‘For Sale’ signs will soon be a thing of the past on homes in New Canaan, Connecticut.

A six-month trial ban starts July 1, meaning those signs you see in front of houses will have to be taken down.

The New Canaan Board of Realtors voted in favor of the ban, saying prospective home buyers aren’t driving around town anymore. Instead, they’re researching online.

“Most people recognize they’re not really contributing to the sale of the home,” said Joe Scozzafava, a realtor at William Raveis. “With the buyers that we’re dealing with, who are mostly millennials, who are very tech-savvy.”

Here’s a short, two-minute video from CBS which includes an interview with a realtor and some residents. To listen to them talk, you’d think those signs are just a waste of time for all concerned.

So the official line here is that online browsing has made the signs redundant and people don’t like the look of them. But how much of that is true? I know from personal experience that shopping for a house may certainly include doing some online browsing, but that doesn’t give you a full picture or inform you about the real feel of the house and the neighborhood. Driving around and scouting nice neighborhoods looking for For Sale signs is part of the process for most people. So what’s the real reason that New Canaan doesn’t want all of those For Sale signs lining the streets?

One hint can be found in the comments from local resident Shawn Gardner who said, “The amount of them is giving buyers an idea that this entire town is for sale.”

That seems to be the dirty little secret here. They don’t want people to know how many people are fleeing high tax areas like Connecticut. While Massachusettes may be the worst state in terms of raw state taxes, when you add up the total state and local tax burden for residents, it’s actually barely in the top ten of the worst. New York and Connecticut hold the top (or actually bottom) spots, with 12.7% and 12.6% of residents’ income being vacuumed up respectively. (Alaska, Wyoming and South Dakota are the least taxed by that standard in case you were curious.) This is no doubt a contributing factor to Connecticut’s place on the list of states where the most people are leaving. They come in fourth, trailing only Illinois, New Jersy and New York.

So with that in mind, is it any surprise that New Canaan is littered with “For Sale” signs like weeds springing up out of the ground? And that phenomenon is going to continue in the places where state and local governments have made increasingly difficult for regular, working-class people to be able to afford to survive or tolerate government policies. If you want to see where the sign ban crops up next, keep your eye on California. As of this spring, they recorded more people fleeing the state and moving there and it’s primarily middle class and lower-income families.

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