Housing market expected to benefit from possible immigration reform

Should Congress approve the proposed immigration reform, real estate agents should expect to have a lot less free time.

Should Congress approve the proposed immigration reform, real estate agents should expect to have a lot less free time. 

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals generated estimates of what the housing market implications are of the immigration bill that is currently before Congress based on a model created for their 2004 study, The Potential for Homeownership Among Undocumented Workers and property data projections.

An estimated 3 million new homebuyers would emerge on the market if the reform passes, creating more than $500 billion in home sales, income and spending in the national housing economy over a period of five years, according to the NAHREP. The potential pool would also contribute about $233 billion in real estate commissions, consumer spending and origination fees.

Up to 6 million undocumented residents are expected to seek citizenship if the bill is approved, according to the Association, and it is anticipated that half of that number would become homeowners. 

"Foreign-born householders have a high value and strong desire for ownership," said Juan Martinez, president of NAHREP. "They have been here in our midst for years, working and participating in our economy. Legitimizing them through immigration reforms would finally give them the access and the confidence to buy homes."

The National Association of Home Builders asked that the bill include an easy and workable way to verify the citizenship of potential employees, according to DS News. 

Potential increase in Realtor income
Based on the age and income characteristics of the typical homebuyer, which is roughly an annual $40,000, undocumented residents would be able to afford an estimated sale price of $173,600. For Realtors, this would generate about $28 billion in income, going off of an average of 5.5 percent sales commission. 

"Immigration reform would unleash pent-up demand for homeownership by millions of undocumented immigrants. It would help re-establish homeownership as a driving force in building wealth and accelerate the recovery of the nation's economy," said Alejandro Becerra, former senior housing fellow.

Strong existing Hispanic presence in housing market 
The U.S. housing market is already contains a large percentage of Hispanic households, according to the New York Times. The amount of Hispanic homeowners grew by 58 percent from 2000 to 2012, compared to 5 percent for the non-Hispanic population. This could be due to the fact that this national demographic is greatly made up of young people who are growing into a homeownership role at a faster rate than the rest of the population.

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