A little-noticed bill introduced by New York Congressman Joseph Crowley in January could help bring a new source of desperately needed liquidity to the commercial real estate sector: foreign investment. The Real Estate Revitalization Act of 2010 would eliminate certain taxes that were part of the Foreign Investment Real Estate Property Tax of 1980, or FIRPTA, which requires foreign investors to pay as much as a 55% tax on capital gains from the sale of U.S. real estate or shares in real estate investment trusts and real estate operating companies. Without it, economists predict commercial real estate could follow a similarly brisk downward trajectory as the housing market did a couple of years ago, and only now seems to be showing signs of recovery.
What are your thoughts on Crowley's bill? Should it be approved? How much work does your firm do in the commercial real estate sector?