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Immigration is making housing more expensive

author Published by Henry Barbaro

The recent surge in immigration, both legal and illegal, is worsening America’s affordable housing crisis.  While Americans who are looking for a house or apartment are being squeezed by rising housing costs due to inflation and elevated interest rates, our unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants is exacerbating the current housing supply shortage.

Even before the most recent surge in illegal immigration, the U.S. was already behind on the demand for affordable apartments, with the total number declining by 4.7 million from 2015 to 2020, according to a report from the National Multifamily Housing Council. The report found that immigration is a significant driver of apartment demand, which has been corroborated by rents for apartments climbing to all-time highs in cities with large numbers of immigrants.

Factsheet: Immigration & Housing

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The lack of affordable housing is a crucial measure of how the impacts of unsustainable immigration hurts Americans unequally.  Blue-collar people are more vulnerable to mass immigration because less-educated natives are more likely to live in rental housing, which means they’re going to be in direct competition with migrants, not just in the job market but in the housing market as well.

The recent and massive inflow of illegal migrants (7.3 million in three years) is yet another reason why younger U.S. workers are losing hope of ever buying a home.  According to the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations, the share of renters who expect to own a home dropped to 40.1 percent. That’s down from 44.4 percent a year ago and the lowest since the annual survey was launched in 2014.

In addition to increasing housing costs, mass immigration also is a major contributor of urban sprawl.  Even before the migrant surge, back in 2017, the Urban Institute found that while inflows of immigrants caused a significant increase in home prices and rents in big cities, the areas surrounding those cities experienced even more cost inflation.  This in turn drives both densification within our cities plus sprawling growth well beyond.

These harsh housing trends will persist as long as immigration rates into America remain high.  Tragically, Congress has been unable and/or unwilling to advance rational immigration policies.  Even before the surge of immigration under the Biden administration, the Census Bureau projected the U.S. population to grow another 50+ million people by the Year 2060, with more than 90 percent of that growth due to immigration.

Take Action: Housing supply cannot keep up with immigration.

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