Saturday, July 12, 2008

Housing foreclosures & Immigration

Some people have a hard time comprehending that immigration levels and the housing crisis are related. After all, immigrants do not come here in motor homes. Some immigration is necessary in an expanding economy, but immigration becomes excessive when adequate housing and employment opportunities (sustenance) are not being created, or employment is being outsourced overseas.

Total BLS employed reached 145,583,000 in Nov. 2006 and is 145,891,000 for June 2008. Employment has grown by 308,000 while the Civilian Labor Force Level grew by 1,987,000 during this period.

Most new immigrants initially become renters, increased rental housing demand is caused by immigration, this demand forces more established residents into dubious mortgages on hyper-inflated housing. Wages also languish during periods of oversupply of (immigrant plus domestic) labor and cannot maintain the pace of hyper-inflating real-estate.

In Table 1, I've used DHS supplied data for Legal Permanent Resident awards as a proxy for immigration levels per State (includes District of Columbia.) Table 1 compares the immigration levels with the number of RealtyTrac housing foreclosure filings for March 2008. I've added columns for foreclosure rankings and immigration rankings on a State by State basis.

Table 1 shows that the States with higher "immigration rankings" in most cases also have higher foreclosure (filing) rankings.

Table 1 (click on image to enlarge)

RealtyTrac housing foreclosure filings data also includes a 1 to (number of households) ratio for each State. Using this data, I created Table 2. Table 2, compares the lowest foreclosure ratings (ratio foreclosure filings to number of units) to the States with lowest immigration levels.

Table 2 (click on image to enlarge)

It is obvious to me that America's immigration policy has created a housing market where most would borrow against their homes (even before purchasing) instead of creating employment opportunities where borrowing against one's home would be a last resort.
The sub-prime bubble burst (investors pulled the plug) at about the same time the Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation was defeated.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006
The sponsor of the Bill, Senator Arlen Specter, introduced it on April 7, 2006. It was passed on May 25, 2006, by a vote of 62-36. Cloture was invoked, which limited debate to a 30 hour period. The parallel House Bill H.R. 4437 would have dealt with immigration differently. Neither bill became law because they failed to pass the conference committee. The end of the 109th Congress (January 3, 2007) marked the death of both bills.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
The bill [Comprehensive Immigration Reform] also received heated criticism from both sides of the immigration debate. The bill was introduced in the United States Senate on May 9, 2007, but was never voted on, though a series of votes on amendments and cloture took place. The last vote on cloture, on June 7, 2007, 11:59 AM, failed 34-61 effectively ending the bill's chances. A related bill S. 1639, on June 28, 2007, 11:04 AM, also failed 46-53.
Subprime mortgage industry collapse
"In March 2007, the United States' subprime mortgage industry collapsed..."

Foreclosures by State:
Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2007


Anonymous said...

Very interesting to see that only favorable data has been pulled in. Just include the total population, % of immigrants in that population, Total number of houses, % of houses foreclosed, etc. Then we might see a totally a different picture than what's painted here.

Weaver said...

for anonymous:

I really don't think your suggested table would change the outcome -- I'd like to see but...

Where would I find the data?

The MPI states:

"While the immigrant population of the United States increased by 6.4 million between 2000 and 2006,..."

But DHS says that this is the amount of persons added through Legal Permanent Resident programs.

It's transparent that the Census data doesn't include the undocumented.

The problem is supply-demand between inflated housing and the ability to pay for it in a labor saturated market.