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U.S. immigration keeps real estate in high demand

Perspective: But weak economy could impact boom

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Assuming three people per household (once they get settled), immigration creates the need for 300,000 more housing units every year. The United States is experiencing a tremendous wave of immigration, with the number of immigrants increasing steadily since the 1930s. Over the last two decades, the country has recognized an average of nearly 900,000 legal immigrants per year (400,000 new arrivals and 500,000 status adjustments), in comparison to just 450,000 per year during the prior two decades. These new arrivals tend to settle in large numbers in just a few states. Six states – California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey and Illinois – accounted for two-thirds of the immigrant population in 2004. While this portion of the population is likely to rent upon first arriving in the country, home ownership does increase as they spend more time in the country. This is one important segment of the population – and potential housing demand – that sho...