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May 30th, 2013

Immigration reform could really help housing



rising housing costsU.S. immigration reform could provide a big boost for the nation’s housing sector, according to a new analysis from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) in San Diego, Calif.

NAHREP estimates that the path to legalization, proposed by the Obama Administration, could result in $500 billion in real estate sales, more than 3 million new homeowners, $28 billion in real estate commissions, $25 billion in mortgage origination fees and $180 billion in consumer spending associated with homeownership over five years. Those projections are based on an assumption that as many as 6 million undocumented immigrants would pursue legalization and possibly citizenship, NAHREP said in a statement.

Home-buying aspirations

Juan Martinez, president of NAHREP and broker/owner of Century 21 Martinez & Associates, a realty brokerage in Las Vegas, said immigrants place a high value on homeownership and have a strong desire to become homeowners.

“They’ve been here for years, working and participating in our economy. Legitimizing them through immigration reforms would finally give them the access and confidence to buy homes,” Martinez said. “If we can get past the anti-immigrant sentiment that has so strongly colored the national conversation around immigration reform, we will see how much our U.S. economy has to gain by legitimizing these people.”

Many undocumented foreign-born people have age and income characteristics similar to other potential homeowners, and with household incomes of about $40,000, many of them could afford a home worth $173,600, the national median sales price, NAHREP said.

Immigration reform plan

Approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the U.S., according to an Obama Administration summary of the immigration reform proposal.

Among its many provisions, the proposal would:

  • Create a provisional legal status for undocumented immigrants who register, submit biometric data, pass criminal background and national security checks, and pay fees and penalties
  • Allow children brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents to earn citizenship by attending college or serving in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Strengthen and improve infrastructure at U.S. ports of entry and support the use of technologies to secure the U.S. land and sea borders
  • Beef up criminal penalties to combat transnational criminal organizations that traffic in drugs, weapons and money, and that smuggle people across U.S. borders
  • Establish border community liaisons to improve communication and collaboration with border communities
  • Create new criminal penalties for trafficking in passports and immigration documents and certain schemes that defraud immigrants
  • Provide tools to help employers verify the people they hire are eligible to work in the United States and increase penalties for hiring undocumented workers
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HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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