HUD Seeks Input on Maximizing ‘Opportunity Zones’

April 15, 2019

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking public comment on how it can use “Opportunity Zones” to better benefit residents and communities. The federal Opportunity Zone Program, created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, seeks to aid economic development in distressed areas by offering real estate investors significant tax breaks. More than 8,700 communities have been designated ripe for revitalization and fall within “Opportunity Zones.”

HUD is asking the public to share knowledge and provide recommendations for public and private investments within Opportunity Zones, as well as whether HUD should create an information portal. About $100 billion in private capital investment originally was expected to be poured into Opportunity Zones, but by many estimates, that has failed to materialize so far.

Opportunity Zones have created a “frenzy” among real estate firms and other industries to tout the tax benefits, according to a recent Bloomberg report. But anecdotal evidence shows some investors are holding off, awaiting more rules and guidance from the IRS to provide clarification on the exact tax benefits. A second round of regulations are due out over the next several weeks to provide further clarity.

“Opportunity Zones present tremendous promise for America’s distressed communities,” says HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Through [HUD’s] request, we are looking to better understand how HUD can better tailor its policies and help Opportunity Zones create more positive economic outcomes for the millions of Americans that live in these areas—and for our country as a whole.”

Are you a practitioner who works with investors or in the commercial space and can provide expertise on Opportunity Zones? Here’s where you can give your feedback.

Learn more about Opportunity Zones: Get Up to Speed on O-Zones