The growth of foreign-born households accounted for a major share of the growth in homeownership in many states over the first decade of the century according to a new report sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA).  The report, Immigrant Contributions to Housing Demand in the United States: A Comparison of Recent Decades and Projections to 2020 for the States and Nation, is a demographic based projection of the demand for housing by households headed by immigrants. The report was authored by Professor Dowell Myers and Senior Research Associated John Pitkin of the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

Growth of foreign-born homeowners has increased in each of the last three decades, rising from 0.8 million new immigrant homeowners in the United States during 1980­-1990 to 2.1 million added in 1990-2000, to 2.4 million added in 2000-2010.  The report projects an increase of 2.8 million in the current decade (2010-2020).

Foreign born households are propelling growth in the rental market as well.  These households peaked in aggregate growth in the 1990-2000 decade with a 2.3 million increase but slowed to a net increase of 1.6 million in the next years.  The study projects a net growth of 1.3 million in this decade.   

In the 2010-2020 decade immigrants are expected to account for 32.2 percent of the growth in all households, 35.7 percent of the growth in homeownership and 26.4 percent of the growth in renters.  While immigrant homeownership is growing it will be a smaller slice of a larger pie in this decade as the overall growth of homeownership is projected at nearly 8 million as compared to 5.1 million in the 2000-2010 period.

Meyers said, "Immigrants are an important and growing source of demand that has bolstered housing markets in recent decades.  Growth in housing demand in recent decades has been more stable among foreign-born than native-born households. This is because increases in native-born demand have been subject to large swings in the size of cohorts reaching ages 25 to 34, the most common age of entry to the housing market. In contrast, inflows of new immigrants have not varied widely in recent decades, and in addition the strong upward mobility of prior immigrants, has led to continued increases in aggregate demand for home ownership."

The impact of foreign-born households on homeownership was especially strong in several states during the last decade.  Immigrants were responsible for 82.2 percent of the growth in homeownership in California and 65.1 percent in New York 65.1.  Those households also accounted for the major share of net growth in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio and Michigan.   This is projected to continue in this decade with foreign born households propelling growth in all of these states but Ohio and in Connecticut.

In the 2010 period foreign born households will comprise over one third of the growth in the rental market in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois and the Washington, D.C. metro area,.

 "Rising numbers of foreign-born households are driven by the continued increases in homeownership rates achieved as immigrants settle longer in the United States. For example, among the cohort of Hispanics who arrived in the United States during the 1980s, homeownership rose from just above 15 percent in 1990 to nearly 53 percent in 2010 and is projected to rise to above 61 percent in 2020 when the cohort will have resided more than 30 years in the United States," said John Pitkin Senior Research Associate of the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of Southern California.