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Sales of Likely Opportunity Zone Properties Climb 8 Percent Over Last Year

The purchase of the Luzano Apartments in Pompano Beach, Florida, reflects growing interest in opportunity zones.

Investors pumped $2.6 billion more into properties covered by the federal Opportunity Zone tax incentive initiative -- an 8 percent increase from the same time last year -- even before the Treasury Department released guidelines on the program.

Almost 40,000 properties in the nation's more than 8,760 zones have sold this year, according to CoStar data. More than 51,400 properties are being actively marketed for sale. And the release this month of the first round of regulations is expected to amplify that flow of money through the next couple of years.

Opportunity Zone investments are a provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law last December, deferring or eliminating capital gains taxes for new investments in communities that state and federal officials define as economically distressed. The Treasury worked into October this year to provide regulatory guidelines for the program.

Estimates range widely for the amount of capital that could flow to take advantage of the tax benefits from investing in properties in these zones and holding onto them for at least 10 years. The federal government calculates the capital flow at $100 billion, while some industry estimates reach as high as $250 billion -- and it could go higher if all benefits are factored in.

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