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Immigrants help drive recovery of housing market

Immigration helps drive economic growth in Minnesota and across the country. This is one of the recurring themes of this blog. We’ve written, for example, about immigrant-owned businesses, such as those on Lake Street in Minneapolis or University Avenue in St. Paul.

And we’ve continued to follow the efforts to expand the availability of work visas. This includes high-profile visas such as H-1Bs, as well as the two-year work permits that are available for young immigrants who qualify for the Deferred Action program.

In short, economic growth helps drive employment immigration – and vice versa.

The contribution of immigrants to restoring and maintaining America’s economic vitality is also reflected in the housing market. According to a new research study, the number of U.S. homeowners who were born abroad has been going up for more than 20 years. The study was prepared for the Mortgage Bankers Association by researchers at the University of Southern California.

In the decade between 2000 and 2010 alone, immigrants made up 39 percent of the growth in homeowners nationally. They did this despite comprising only 13 percent of the total U.S. population.

The out-size impact of immigrants on the housing market is expected to continue as well. The research study projects that between 2010 and 2020, immigrants will account for 36 percent of the increase in the number of homeowners nationally.

The American real estate market has of course had its struggles in recent years. The crisis brought on by the collapse of the subprime mortgage market ultimately led to devastating losses in home values across much of the country. Immigrant demand for housing, however, is playing a key role in the housing market’s recovery.

Source: “Immigrants Buoy the Housing Market,” The Wall Street Journal, 3-6-13

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