Undocumented Immigration May Affect the Housing Market

Undocumented Immigration May Affect the Housing Market

You may not think immigration has an effect on housing prices, but more than half of the experts surveyed by Zillow said if there continues to be a decline in undocumented immigration in the U.S., labor costs will go up, increasing home prices as a result.

The number of undocumented workers in the U.S. has remained flat for more than five years, and the undocumented Mexican immigrant population is now 20 percent smaller than it was in 2007, according to data from Pew Hispanic Center and the most recent Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey.

Immigration is one of the most debated issues among 2016 presidential candidates, and Zillow wanted to get a closer look at how immigration would impact the housing market. The expert panel, made of up economists and researchers, said they think fewer immigrants entering the U.S. illegally will result in higher housing costs and more luxury home construction.

Here are some of the main findings:

  • More than two-thirds of those surveyed said a slowdown in immigration will drive up construction labor costs.
  • About 43 percent said if there's a decline in the undocumented immigrant population, there would be more construction jobs for U.S. and foreign-born workers.
  • Forty percent said higher labor costs would cause builders to focus on high-end construction, which has a higher profit margin.
  • More than 30 percent connected immigration trends to the lack of inventory, and predicted that the number of new homes built will remain lower than historical norms.
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Survey respondents expect homes to appreciate 3.7 percent in 2016; they expected 3.4 percent appreciation last quarter.

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