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Another drag on housing: Legal immigrants and residents not buying

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Housing is stalling out and while it's not the single most important driver, one thing housing usually gets a boost from is legal immigrants who are granted U.S. residency buying homes in the United States, Bloomberg reports

As the housing recovery nationwide sputters, the story of Dayton reveals a reason why: the U.S. market is missing the sales jolt provided by immigration. Last year, the number of immigrants granted U.S. residency -- typically a requirement to get a mortgage -- hit a nine-year low, according to government data. Immigrants, deterred by a weak American labor market since 2008, aren’t likely to get encouragement from Congress, where support for a reform bill has mostly evaporated.

“Immigrants have a drive to become homeowners that surpasses even native-born people, and that gives them a magnified impact on home sales,” said Chris Herbert, research director of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “No one knows how many immigrants will be arriving in the next few years because it depends on what the economy does and what Washington does.”

Near the end of the housing boom in 2006, about 1.26 million immigrants attained permanent U.S. status, the most since 1991, according to government data. That number declined to 1.05 million in 2007 as the financial crisis began to unfold and tumbled to 991,000 last year.

Source: Bloomberg
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