No matter which way you look at it, all Americans suffered in the housing crisis.
And while policymakers, homebuilders, investors and lenders are credited for supplying the housing market revival, there’s one group that seems to always take the backburner: immigrant homeowners.
Immigration has proven to be an important driver of the increase in population diversity and growth. Additionally, immigrants are essential to the rate of workforce growth and consequently will continue to have important effects on the housing market going forward.
Michael Cevarr with Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group created the latest edition of its housing insights report, and in it, he analyzed data from the Census Bureau’sAmerican Community Survey to focus on the five most populous immigrant groups who represent nearly half of the foreign-born population — Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Filipino and Salvadoran.
Interestingly enough, homeownership rates declined for native-born immigrants and the majority of the five most populous immigrant groups, but Chinese immigrants bucked the trend, Cevarr pointed out.
"As the number of new homeowners failed to replace those who lost their homes or chose other exits from homeownership, the homeownership rate has decreased," the economist noted.
Additionally, median home values fell significantly for Filipino, Mexican and Salvadoran immigrants. For instance, the median value home value for the native-born fell 8.2%, compared to the 25.6% decline experienced by foreign-born homeowners. Cost burdens for immigrant mortgagors declined, but remain at elevated levels.
In 2011, 51.7% of foreign-born homeowners spent more than 30% of their income on housing costs, compared with 34.8% for native-born owners, Fannie Mae explained. Meanwhile, socioeconomic characteristics and geographic location influence homeowner conditions and trends.
Differences in characteristics such as income, citizenship, education and occupation between native-born and foreign-born populations are critical features for homeownership trends.
For example, Chinese, Indian and Filipino immigrants have higher homeownership rates, higher median home values and lower housing-cost burdens than do Mexican and Salvadorian immigrants – who are more likely to have lower education and income levels, the report said.
"As immigrants have traditionally been, and will continue to be, a vital source of housing demand, it is important to examine how the recent housing downturn and Great Recession have affected immigrants to gain insight into their potential role in the housing recovery," Cevarr concluded.