Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program

Market Information

Just as with other commodity markets like food and oil, the TDR market is driven by supply and demand. Landowners of sending sites create the supply of development rights when they choose to put a conservation easement on their property in exchange for TDRs to sell and transfer to other areas. Developers using development rights to increase density at receiving sites create the demand.

The market price of TDRs is set by four factors:

  1. The price individual developers are willing to pay for a TDR – that is, the ability to increase density in a certain area beyond what current zoning allows. This will vary by location and development project.
  2. The price at which individual rural landowners are willing to sell their transferable development rights.
  3. The amount of TDRs readily available.
  4. The development industry's interest in building additional density in Kittitas County.

Development rights are bought and sold through private party transactions. Special conditions apply to buying and selling TDRs in Kittitas County:

  • Purchase and sale of TDRs is a real estate transaction requiring the seller or buyer to pay the Real Estate Excise Tax and recording fees.
  • Each sales transaction of a TDR certificate must be recorded with the County.
  • Buyers and sellers typically complete a purchase and sales agreement.