Coming Soon: Legislation granting foreign investment in real estate

Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) looks to introduce legislation this spring that allows foreign investors easier access to purchase U.S. properties.

His bill will amend the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, or FIRPTA, which taxes capital gains on property held by foreign investors to keep them from buying up too much land in the U.S. 

Crowley told The Hill that changes would not affect the entire bill. 

“This is not a full blown, open FIRPTA,” he said. 

In related news, PriceWaterhouseCoopers on Tuesday released a survey showing commercial real estate had encouraging signs of improvement in the first quarter of 2010.  Crowley was dubious. 

“We’re hearing $190 billion worth of commercial real estate out there is under water,” he said. 

Crowley is working with the Congressional Budget Office to score his bill. Lobbyists say the preliminary dollar figure for the legislation was too high and the entire package is being reviewed to see where cuts can be made.