Marco Rubio Wants to Crack Down on Foreign Real Estate Holdings With New Bill

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., brought out a proposal to help reduce foreign investments in urban real estate.

Rubio introduced the “Home Advantage for American Families Act” as he noted that many foreign real estate holdings are “connected to illicit activity, and instead increase investment in affordable housing.” The senator’s office noted Rubio’s proposal “stems from an increase in areas that are quickly becoming too expensive to live and the need to restore equilibrium in housing markets for local residents to own a home and raise families.”

“As billions of dollars pour into South Florida real estate, much of it is connected to foreign illicit activity, causing families in our communities to face an ever increasing challenge of finding affordable housing,” Rubio said. “To have a strong nation, we need strong communities, and to have strong communities we must have strong families. Combating illicit finance in foreign real estate investment and increasing affordable housing investment in South Florida are key to tackling this problem confronting so many Floridians, and this bill would do exactly that.”

The bill would have the U.S. Treasury Department “issue reports on behalf of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for residential real estate transactions within the top fifteen Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) to identify the natural identities of foreign buyers.” The proposal also raises to 30 percent the Foreign Investment in Real Property Act (FIRPTA) of 1980 withholding taxes on residential real estate held by foreign individuals and corporations and foreign individuals. The bill would also add “an additional 10 percent of base-funding set-aside of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LITHC) for single family home construction within Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs) to help states create more affordable housing opportunities that can accommodate a family.”

Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. So far, there are no cosponsors of the bill. As of Friday morning, there was no counterpart over in the U.S. House.


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