Investments in Opportunity Zones (OZs) by Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs) tracked by Novogradac surpassed $15 billion in equity at the end of 2020, according to the national accounting and consulting firm.

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“The Novogradac Opportunity Zones Investment Report: Data Through Dec. 31, 2020” reports $15.16 billion in equity raised by QOFs for which Novogradac has information. The company is tracking 969 QOFs, of which 659 have reported the dollar amount of equity raised by the end of last year.

Novogradac began tracking OZ investment in May 2019, and the number of QOFs tracked and reported equity raised has increased steadily.

“The continuing growth of investment in 2020 in opportunity funds amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly good news as businesses and residents in OZs struggle to recover from the pandemic-induced economic recession,” said Michael J. Novogradac, CPA and managing partner of Novogradac. “The OZ incentive is proving to be an effective tool in driving capital to distressed areas."

Novogradac breaks down more details in a blog post.

The latest report shows an average of $23 million raised by QOFs that have reported the amount of equity raised. Funds with at least a partial focus on residential investment have raised $11.91 billion, and those with at least a partial focus on commercial investment have raised $9.37 billion (due to the number of QOFs with multiple areas of focus, the sum of all areas of focus surpasses $15.16 billion), according to the firm.

Enacted through the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, OZs are designed to stimulate economic development and job creation by incentivizing long-term private investments in low-income neighborhoods.