Immigrants Drive Up Demand For Housing And Housing Values

September 30, 2016

A new report from the Americas Society/Council of the Americas found that each immigrant adds 11.6 cents to the home value in their counties — meaning that immigrants as a whole contribute $3.7 trillion in housing value gains nationwide.

Tanvi Mirsa from CityLab writes that immigrants are increasing the demand for housing. They are also less likely to move within or outside their state compared to the native-born population.

Mirsa also argues that immigrants influence native flight, and that skin color is a determining factor.

The negative relationship between immigrant influx and decline in housing prices was strongest in whiter, richer neighborhoods. In fact, in minority and low-income neighborhoods, immigrants left little or no impact. Also, this effect wasn’t true for all immigrants. When they analyzed the results by race and ethnicity, Wachter and Saiz found that the relationship was “very negative” when black immigrants moved in. For non-Hispanic white immigrants, it was positive—meaning native residents saw them as an amenity. So, it wasn’t the “foreignness” of immigrants—it was simply skin color that elicited native, white flight.

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