WASHINGTON — Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Monday praised measures in the recent tax reform legislation that help foster affordable housing.

At a meeting of the National Council of State Housing Finance Agencies, Carson said low-income tax credits and private activity bonds, preserved in the bill Congress passed in December, are key to the development of affordable housing.

But Carson also a touted the bill's creation of "Opportunity Zones" to stimulate investment in low-income census tracts.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson
"More than $2 trillion in capital gains could be unlocked for investment in these zones, and affordable housing stands to be major recipients of this private capital," HUD Secretary Ben Carson said. Bloomberg News

Those zones allow investors to sell an "investment with an unrealized capital gain and invest the proceeds" in designated Opportunity Zones selected by state governors, Carson said.

"More than $2 trillion in capital gains could be unlocked for investment in these zones, and affordable housing stands to be major recipients of this private capital," Carson said.

"Advocates for affordable housing and strong communities have a lot to celebrate," he added.

Carson also called on the Senate to confirm Brian Montgomery to be the new Federal Housing Administration commissioner.

"It has been 162 days since Brian Montgomery was originally nominated," the HUD secretary.

Montgomery served as FHA commissioner during the last Bush administration. He served as President Obama's first FHA commissioner, staying on during the financial crisis.

"I hope that the Senate will soon exercise its authority and its responsibility to serve the American people and confirm Brian's nomination," Carson said.

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