Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Immigrant buyers fueling demand for homes

Home ownership among immigrants continues to grow in California and New York.
Home ownership among immigrants continues to grow in California and New York.
David McNew/Getty Images

If you're selling your house in California or New York, there's a good chance you'll sell it to an immigrant. According to a new report, immigrant homebuyers are helping fuel the housing market in a big way, with their share of homeownership rising each decade.

In the long-established immigrant gateways of California and New York, foreign-born homebuyers account for the majority of housing market demand. From the report from the Research Institute for Housing America:

From 2000 to 2010 immigrants accounted for 82.2 percent and 65.1 percent, respectively, of the growth in homeowners in those states.

In that decade immigrants also accounted for the major share of net growth in owner households in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio and Michigan.

Nationwide between 2010 and 2020, immigrants are projected to make up 36 percent of the growth in home ownership, even with a slight projected decline in this decade influenced by the economy and growing demand from native-born buyers. The share of foreign-born homeowners has increased steadily, from 2.1 million new immigrant homeowners between 1990 and 2000, 2.4 million new ones between 2000 and 2010, and a projected 2.8 million more by 2012.

Overall, demand from immigrant buyers has risen the most sharply in non-traditional destination states: In Georgia and North Carolina, for example, immigrants accounted for 34 and 25 percent of the growth in home ownership between 2000 and 2010. 

The report was co-authored by University of Southern California demographers Dowell Myers and John Pitkin; in earlier research two years ago focused on California, Myers reported that as non-Latino white Californians were aging and selling off their homes, it was Latino families who were doing much of the buying.

Growth in homeownership among immigrants nationwide between now and 2020 will be tempered because of demand from native-born homebuyers, whose numbers are expected to grow by 5 million. But overall demand for homes from immigrant buyers is expected to remain strong.

The complete report can be downloaded here.