Immigrants are driving the housing recovery

By John Feinblatt and Jason Marczak, Special to CNN
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Fri July 19, 2013
(CNN) — Nearly five years after the housing bubble burst, American homeowners are beginning to see signs of relief as housing markets are finally showing signs of recovery. An untold story of this recovery, however, is the extent to which it is fueled by immigration.

A new analysis of U.S. Census data by Americas Society/Council of the Americas and Partnership for a New American Economy shows that immigrants have collectively added $3.7 trillion to U.S. housing wealth. And over the last several years, as many families in cities and rural areas from the Sun Belt to Rust Belt have seen their largest personal asset — the home they live in — placed in jeopardy, the inflow of immigrants has been a lifeline for them.

Take Chicago. The number of U.S.-born Americans residing in Chicago and surrounding Cook County has declined by 900,000 since 1970. Fortunately, the arrival of nearly 600,000 immigrants over the same time period has offset most of that decline — and most likely kept additional natives from leaving — blunting what could have been a catastrophe for the local housing market.

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