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23 May 2013

Housing market could benefit from new immigration reform

Some senate members had filed for an immigration reform that could change the current face of the immigration practices in the US. The bill, in summary, would provide residency to many undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country before December 31, 2011. Currently, immigrants would have to wait for 13 years before being legally recognized then apply for citizenship and finally pay a fine of $2,000.

Yet one surprising effect that this bill would produce is directed towards the housing market. According to experts, not only will the illegal immigrants benefit from this new reform but also the real estate market. From NAR, minorities made up the 35 percent and immigrants as much as 19 percent of the total number of first-time homebuyers in 2007. If passed, the bill could open up new opportunities for more home buyers to fill the market. The demand for new homes is an important aspect in revitalizing the slowly regenerating housing market, and foreign-born citizens who can apply for mortgages in the country can soon bolster that demand further.

Added by experts, the flow of immigrants coming in the country has not varied greatly from the past years. Since the 1980s, the inflow of foreign-born homeowners has increased each decade ending at 2.4 million between 2000 and 2010. By 2020, that number could blow up to 2.8 million.

The benefits of this new bill can also be seen in the nation’s growth. Immigrants contribute as much as $200 billion in the yearly economic output of the US. And with the recent change in the cultural landscape, more and more immigrants have been slowly integrating in the mainstream society.

The bill in question was proposed by Senators Schumer and Mike Lee. Called the Schumer-Lee Bill, the reform would grant residency via visa to previously unknown foreign-born citizens who spends $500,000 or more in a residential property in the country.

Precedence can also be provided as an added benefit from the bill. With a recovering housing market, the country could attract more foreign buyers to finally take the slow growth of the residential market into a steady pace. This could, in theory, make the housing market more attractive and therefore somehow boost the overall economy.

Selda Kirkan
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