Immigrants will “significantly” impact urban growth for decades, research says

by MPA17 Apr 2017
Urban growth in the U.S. will be “significantly” impacted by the housing and neighborhood location choices of immigrants for decades to come, according to research from the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing. This comes as more foreign-born residents seek to own homes in suburban communities.

“Immigrants have helped stabilize and strengthen the housing market throughout the recovery,” said Terwilliger Center executive director Stockton Williams. “Immigrants’ housing purchasing power and preferences are significant economic assets for metropolitan regions across the country. This suggests the potential for much more growth attributable to foreign-born residents in the years ahead,” he added.

Without growth of the foreign-population, regions with strong housing markets such as San Francisco would not have recovered as quickly following the recession, according to the report.

It said immigrants will be a key driver for owner-occupied housing for years to come, as they have strong aspirations for single-family homeownership.

“Immigrants seeking to own homes as well as those renting homes are increasingly drawn to the suburbs in search of employment opportunities, lower-cost housing and a higher quality of life. Suburbs are home to high-income, high-skilled immigrants as well as lower-income, lesser-skilled immigrants.”

The report suggested that urban areas experiencing significant immigrant population growth should explore how to best accommodate immigrants and leverage the positive effect they have on the housing industry and economy.

“Just as housing demand by immigrants was a key factor in tempering the worst impacts of the housing collapse, this demand is now helping to build housing market momentum. Demand for homeownership and for single-family housing, as well as the continued growth of both urban and suburban communities throughout the country, will depend on the trajectory of U.S. immigration policy.”

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