Photo: Housing market
New research by Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) finds that the 40 million immigrants in the United States have created $3.7 trillion in housing wealth, helping stabilize less desirable communities where home prices are declining or would otherwise have declined.
Evidence already shows that immigration helps stem the aging crisis that afflicting developed economies around the world. Since immigrants are more likely to be of working age, they help fill gaps in the labor force as the U.S. baby boom generation retires at a rate of more than 10,000 per day.
But less attention has been paid to how immigration affects the housing market.
Immigrant workers strengthen the housing market in three ways:
They directly drive housing demand through their own purchasing power.
- The 40 million immigrants in the United States represent a powerful purchasing class—reflected by their demand for housing, as well as for other locally produced goods and services—that bolster the value of homes in communities across the country.
They indirectly generate demand by drawing U.S.-born individuals to opportunities in growing areas.
- The research shows that for every 1,000 immigrants settling in a county, 250 U.S.-born individuals follow, drawn by increased economic opportunity.
They shift demand for housing within metro areas toward neighborhoods that had fallen out of favor.
- The research finds that immigrants often contribute to the stabilization of less desirable neighborhoods, helping those areas become viable alternatives for middle- and working-class Americans. This opens up new opportunities for those without homes to consider purchases in areas once in decline—an important trend in expensive metro areas.