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Trump is getting involved in Opportunity Zones, and experts think that’s a good thing

Opportunity zones have become the darling of real estate investors since their adoption last year, but the still-under-the-radar program is poised to receive a lot more attention, and possibly scrutiny after it was promoted in the Oval Office last week.

President Donald Trump’s signing of an executive order to push more federal resources into the Opportunity Zone program is a step in the right direction and could bolster the little-known tax incentive program and the distressed communities that benefit from investments, experts said.

“I think investors in the marketplace are going to be excited that there are going to be a number of new federal benefits aligned to these zones,” Develop founder Steve Glickman said.

Glickman is a former Obama administration official and one of the original architects of the Opportunity Zone program, which was enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

“Frankly, these zones need a lot more than private capital,” Glickman said. “They need infrastructure investment, they need to deal with crime, workforce training, and other strategies and dollars. Opportunity zones were always meant to stimulate that kind of holistic activity not just on a federal level, but on a state and local level.”

Erik Marks, a Seattle-based commercial real estate attorney and founder of Opportunity-Funds.com, a website that tracks opportunity zone funds and designated areas, said the executive order still does not address the current shortcomings and problems that are present from people trying to do opportunity zone deals now.

“I think the regulation may be useful, but this is not a problem-solving regulation,” Marks said. “I don’t know what his strategy is, but I think when there are opportunity zone successes, he has a clear opportunity to put himself and his Cabinet at the locations for the photo opportunity. I don’t mean to say that in a derogatory sense … This is to make sure [everyone knows] he’s still part of it.”

For the past year, the at-first unheralded Opportunity Zone program, passed last year as part of Trump’s $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, has flown under the mainstream radar.

The program’s goal is to generate economic development in the form of the redevelopment or the development of market-rate housing, affordable housing, new offices, retail buildings and businesses in these communities.

 

 

Read more on Bisnow

 

 

Powell sees bright moment for economy with more hikes ahead

Ten years after the peak of the financial crisis, Jerome Powell’s Federal Reserve sees a U.S. economy capable of humming along without support from monetary policy.

Unemployment is low. Inflation is stable and anchored. Financial conditions merit watching, but don’t look overly worrisome. And against that backdrop, policy makers are raising interest rates gradually despite renewed criticism from President Donald Trump.

They made an expected rate increase on Wednesday, their third in 2018, while telegraphing another before year-end. In an optimistic press conference, the chairman also indicated that the path is clear for future hiking well into 2019.

“It’s a particularly bright moment,” Powell said of the economy. He praised the value of gradual rate increases, which have allowed the Fed to watch their policy moves play out.

“What we’re going to be doing, as we go through time, is asking at every meeting whether monetary policy is set to achieve our goals,” Powell said.

 

 

Read more on Bloomberg

 

 

Trump, Real Estate Investors Get Late-Added Perk in Tax Bill

Lawmakers scrambling to lock up Republican support for the tax reform bill added a complicated provision late in the process — one that would provide a multimillion-dollar windfall to real estate investors such as President Donald Trump.

The change, which would allow real estate businesses to take advantage of a new tax break that’s planned for partnerships, limited liability companies and other so-called “pass-through” businesses, combined elements of House and Senate legislation in a new way. Its beneficiaries are clear, tax experts say, and they include a president who’s said that the tax legislation wouldn’t help him financially.

Read more from Bloomberg

Trump picks Jerome Powell to succeed Yellen as Fed chair

President Donald Trump nominated Jerome Powell to run the Federal Reserve once current Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires, in a move widely expected and one unlikely to disturb the roaring stock market.

Trump made the announcement during a Thursday afternoon ceremony in the Rose Garden.

The move follows an extended period of speculation over who would be named to head the central bank, whose aggressive policies have been considered crucial to a climate of low-interest rates, surging job creation, and booming asset prices.

Read more from CNBC

Trump Is Turning the Fed Pick Into a Reality Show

Before Trump was president, he was doling out brash criticisms and weekly drama on his reality television show, The Apprentice. Thus far, he seems pretty keen on bringing a similar flair, suspense, and tension to his presidency. Take, for example, his approach to appointing a new Federal Reserve chair—a choice that he’s been teasing the American public with for months.

Read more from The Atlantic

What Do NAFTA Negotiations Mean for Industrial Real Estate?

President Donald Trump recently called the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the “worst trade deal in history” and said he would renegotiate or dissolve it. He also discussed the possibility of slapping a 35 percent tariff on Mexican-made products imported to the United States.

NAFTA logistics activity has generated tremendous capital investment in U.S. industrial real estate over the last 20 years.

Read more on National Real Estate Investor

CRE Pros Give Trump a Slightly Higher Approval Rating, Ask for Details on Tax Reform Proposal

The commercial real estate industry’s approval rating for president Trump has improved a bit since September. In a poll of about 900 NREI readers conducted between September 29th and October 3rd, 29.7 percent indicated they approved of the president’s performance so far, vs. 28.1 in September. On the other side of the spectrum, 56.2 percent disapproved of the president’s performance and another 14.1 percent of respondents indicated they were neutral.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor