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The Effects of Immigration on Local Housing Markets

Bill Cochrane () and Jacques Poot
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Bill Cochrane: University of Waikato

Working Papers in Economics from University of Waikato

Abstract: This paper provides a survey of the international evidence regarding the impact of immigration on local housing markets. A theoretical framework highlights the complexity of the housing market and the importance of distinguishing between the ownership and use of the stock of dwellings vis-à-vis the residential real estate market. Evidence from eight countries (Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States) and from meta-analysis shows that immigration will lead to higher house prices and rents, and lower housing affordability. On average, a one percent increase in immigration in a city may be expected to raise rents by one-half to one percent and the effect on prices is about double that. However, there is a large variance around this average which is related inter alia to the time frame and spatial scale of the analysis, as well as to local economic conditions. Additionally, the housing impact of immigration will depend on the demographic and economic composition of the immigrant flow, on macroeconomic conditions and expectations, on the institutional factors that influence the price elasticity of the supply of new dwellings, and on how the native born react to immigration. The tendency of the native born to move out of city wards where migrants settle can lead to relative house price declines in these areas. Overall, immigration has been only a minor contributor to the sharply rising house prices in many fast-growing agglomerations in recent decades.

Keywords: immigration; housing; real estate; homeownership (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J61 L85 R21 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-mig and nep-ure
Date: 2019-06-20
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Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:19/07