The U.S. Treasury Department says it will begin identifying and tracking buyers of high-end properties who make cash purchases through shell companies that hide the buyer’s identity.
This is the first time the federal government has required real estate companies to disclose names behind cash transactions, and it is aimed at combating money laundering schemes. There are concerns that this rule will cut into the luxury housing market that has boomed in recent years.
The initiative is part of a larger federal effort to combat money laundering in real estate. The effort will start in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County, Fla., the New York Times reported.
The newspaper examined a decade of ownership at a prominent condominium complex near Central Park, and found a number of hidden owners who had been investigated by the government. In a related development, last spring, New York City’s Finance Department began requiring shell companies buying real estate to report their members to the city.