Immigration slowdown will drive up building costs—experts

by Ephraim Vecina26 Feb 2016
A recent study conducted by a leading online real estate database revealed that a majority of its housing industry respondents believe that an immigration slowdown in the U.S. would spell more expensive homes, chiefly due to construction labor cost hikes.
In the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations (ZHPE) Survey, the real estate portal looked into a hot election season issue—namely, immigration—and its potential effects on the country’s housing markets. The study involved over 100 housing experts, with 85 of them responding to the immigration-related question.
“While housing policy hasn’t been a big talking point thus far in this election cycle, immigration policy certainly has, and immigration plays a big role in housing,” Zillow chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said in the report, as quoted by Realty Biz News.
Per figures from the Pew Hispanic Center, the study noted that undocumented immigration in the U.S. remained at flat levels for over half a decade now, with the number of illegal Mexicans 20% lower than in 2007.
Over two-thirds of the ZHPE Survey respondents stated that fewer immigrants would mean greater labor costs and more high-end property construction.
“The supply of homes for sale isn’t keeping up with demand – especially among entry-level homes that first-time buyers want. New-home construction has been sluggish, and homes that are getting built are aimed at a higher-end clientele. If builders hire relatively more expensive U.S.-born workers, they may continue to focus on the more profitable higher end of the market,” Gudell said.
Meanwhile, 43% of the respondents said that the drop in the number of undocumented immigrants could lead to more building industry jobs for U.S. workers and other foreign nationals.


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