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Dynamics of Elections Could Affect Commercial Real Estate

03/12/2012 | By Matthew Bechard

As the November elections approach, the "dynamics" of the policy discussions could have a direct effect on the commercial real estate industry, according to Jeff DeBoer, president and CEO of The Real Estate Roundtable.

In a video interview with REIT.com at the Akerman U.S. Real Estate Summit 2012 in Miami, DeBoer offered his outlook on some of the major policy questions facing commercial real estate. He emphasized that if policymakers began to push issues such as deficit reduction and tax reform with a sense of urgency, it could impact commercial real estate.

DeBoer said The Real Estate Roundtable is working closely with groups like NAREIT to advance reform legislation that would ease the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act's (FIRPTA) withholding requirements on non-U.S. investment in commercial real estate. Additionally, DeBoer said his organization is discussing the potential repeal of an IRS notice dealing with liquidating distributions, which could be done by the Treasury Department.

"Our expectations are they're going to take a hard look at this," said DeBoer, who noted that the current political environment in Washington makes passing tax legislation difficult.

DeBoer also said The Real Estate Roundtable is exploring ways to revive the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). With the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation finally working its way through the regulatory framework, The Real Estate Roundtable is working on regulatory measures to help jumpstart the CMBS market.