REALTOR® Joins White House Opportunity Zone Kick-Off

April 19, 2019

Bob Turner, broker of Southern Properties in Memphis and commercial liaison for the National Association of REALTORS®, joined officials from the government and private sectors at the White House April 17 to discuss the signature effort by President Donald Trump’s administration to revitalize communities.

Turner attended the White House Opportunity Zone Conference to gather insight into how the new tax incentives will work and also help officials understand how the program can be improved in the years ahead.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson and REALTOR® Bob Turner

Bob Turner

HUD Secretary Ben Carson shares a moment with Bob Turner, broker of Southern Properties in Memphis, at the White House Opportunity Zone Conference April 17.

“I was honored to be asked to represent our industry,” said Turner. “I believe our members have an opportunity to play a role in making this program a success.”

Opportunity Zones were created in the sweeping tax law rewrite in 2017. The program allows investors to defer capital gains taxes when the gains from the sale of commercial real estate and certain other assets are rolled over into funds that buy, renovate, and develop businesses in one of nearly 9,000 designated zones around the country.  Investors can also have a portion of their tax liability eliminated if they keep their money in the fund for a certain duration. The goal is to keep private investment capital in these underserved areas over the long term so areas can see a deeply rooted economic turnaround.

At the conference, the administration released its second round of proposed rules. “We’re telling our members to get professional guidance from an attorney or accountant,” because the investments can be complex, Turner said.

As promising as the program is, Congress and the administration might want to create an incentive for the development or renovation of affordable homes in the zones, Turner suggested. “How do we fill the need for homeownership and wealth building for people living in these areas?” he said.

Read more about how the program works.