In a report released earlier this week, the White House Council of Economic Advisers estimated that $75 billion of private capital has been raised by Qualified Opportunity Funds as of the end of 2019.
The CEA used data from the SEC and Novogradac to compile their estimates, which relies on a bulk of assumptions regarding fund growth. The report — The Impact of Opportunity Zones: An Initial Assessment — also claims that most of the $75 billion raised through the end of 2019 would not have been invested in Opportunity Zones without the incentive.
Main highlights from the report include:
- An estimated $75 billion in private capital has been raised by Qualified Opportunity Funds as of the end of 2019.
- An estimated $52 billion (70 percent) of the capital raised is new investment that would not have occurred without the incentive.
- Private equity investment in Opportunity Zone businesses grew by an estimated 29 percent relative to businesses in eligible communities that were not selected as Opportunity Zones.
- Opportunity Zone designation was responsible for an estimated 1.1 percent increase in housing values.
- Due to housing value increases and greater amenities and economic opportunity, an estimated $11 billion in new wealth has been created for Opportunity Zone homeowners.
- Each dollar raised by Qualified Opportunity Funds through 2019 results in an estimated loss of 15 cents of Federal revenue, compared to 18 cents of lost Federal revenue for each dollar in investment through the New Markets Tax Credits program.
- With the amount of capital raised through 2019, an estimated 1 million people could be lifted out of poverty and into self-sufficiency, decreasing poverty in Opportunity Zones by 11 percent.
- The Treasury Department estimates that 1,500 Qualified Opportunity Funds existed as of the end of 2018, based on preliminary counts of Form 8996 filings for that tax year.
- The CEA estimates that over 5,500 Qualified Opportunity Funds existed as of the end of 2019.
The CEA estimate of $75 billion of private capital raised by Qualified Opportunity Funds dwarfs the $6.72 billion figure that Novogradac reported from their subset of funds in January 2020. Because the Novogradac figure is from only the subset of funds that they are tracking, their announcement in January stated: “It’s reasonable to estimate that the actual dollars raised to date are double or triple $6.72 billion.”
The CEA report findings exceeded those expectations with an estimate more than 10 times the Novogradac figure from the beginning of the year.