Could Trump Immigration Crackdown Sink Home Prices?

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump pledged to tighten the country’s borders and reform immigration policies. Now that he is in the White House, there is a fear that his immigration policies threaten to crack a foundation of the American economy: the residential real estate market. Juan Rodriguez, who lives in Mesa, Ariz., told Bloomberg he recently got the green light for a mortgage, but he now fears deportation. A 24-year-old whose parents moved from Mexico when he was 7. He now works full time while earning his college degree.

“I feel like with one stroke of Trump’s signature everything can be taken away, even all my hard work.”

The Trump administration has offered plans that include a sweeping crackdown on undocumented immigrants, saying the authorities would deport many more people without court hearings. This could extend to workers with green cards and work visas under the H1-B program for skilled foreign workers. All are worried about possible restrictions under Trump. The housing markets most at risk include Miami, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, which have the biggest concentrations of foreign-born buyers. While there have been changes in the plan by the administration, stepped-up immigration raids and the travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries — blocked in court — are creating panic in many who believed that their American dream was within sight. Alex Nowrasteh, a policy analyst for the libertarian Cato Institute, said it is causing uncertainty.

“If Trump gets the immigration plan he wants, the housing market will get hit harder than any other. If millions of people get deported and more people don’t come in to take their place, then you’ll have downward pressure on home prices, especially in urban areas.”

According to the Bloomberg report, a third of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. live in a home that they or a family member or friend own, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank. Others are developing a backup plan.