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Immigrants boost US housing market

A new report shows that immigration is helping to boost the US housing market. The report prepared by the Mortgage Bankers Association suggests that between 2010 and 2020 immigrants are expected to account for 35.7% of homebuyers and 26.4% of new home rentals.

The report is called Immigrant Contributions to Housing Demand in the United States: A Comparison of Recent Decades and Projections to 2020 for the States and Nation. It says that 'immigrants are an important and growing source of demand (for housing) that has bolstered housing markets in recent decades'.

The report says that immigrants have been important players in the housing market in traditional 'gateway states' such as New York and California, where immigrants would usually settle on arrival in the US, for years. For example, between 2000 and 2010, immigrants were responsible for 82.2% of the growth in new house sales in California and for 65.1% of the growth in new house sales in New York. Immigrants were responsible for the majority of the increase in new house sales in six other states too; Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio and Michigan.

Immigrants will continue to boost housing growth

The report predicts that demand from immigrants will hold up in those states and will be responsible for the majority of the growth in six states between 2010 and 2020; New York, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Michigan.

But the report writers say that, between 2000 and 2010, immigrants began to buy houses in significant numbers in states that were not previously popular with immigrants. For example, they were responsible for 34.1% of the increase in house sales in Georgia and 24.8% in North Carolina. The report says it expects this demand to level off but remain significant between 2010 and 2020.

The report also says that demand for housing from immigrants after the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007 prevented the housing crash from getting any worse. It says that, while the main cause of the crisis was the mis-selling of mortgages, a reduction in the number of native Americans who were buying houses also contributed to the collapse in prices. Had immigrants not made up the numbers, the falls in property prices would have been greater.

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