Immigrants Buying Homes

Homeownership has been the road to wealth for many immigrants and first-generation Americans. But according to a new study, they’re spending a whole lot of their take-home pay to build that road.

The study, sponsored in part by the Washington, D.C.-based National Housing Conference, revealed that immigrant working families (that earn the equivalent of a full-time job paying somewhere between the full-time minimum wage of $10,712 per year) are 70 percent more likely to spend over half their income on housing than their U.S.-born counterparts. Immigrant families are also six times more likely to live in crowded conditions or severely dilapidated housing.

Although immigrant housing issues are often perceived to be city issues, the study found that nearly half of immigrant working families with critical housing needs live in the suburbs.

And it is not only recent immigrant arrivals that experience housing problems. A third of immigrants that have housing issues arrived in this country as far back as 1980.

According to recent Census figures, the majority of America’s foreign-born population still lives in the six traditional gateway states of California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey and Illinois. But North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee have seen their immigrant populations rise by 145 percent over the past few years.

While state budgets are tight, and few funds are available to create more affordable housing or social services for these immigrant working families, a study from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, found recent immigrants were critical to the nation’s economic growth and most immigrants contribute more in taxes than they use in services.

Luxury Houses

While most of us can meet our basic housing needs, we don’t have to worry about what to do with our million dollar homes – yet. But it’s fun to think about.

This week, Coldwell Banker released the results of its “Who’s Buying Luxury Homes In America?” study, and discovered a few interesting facts: thirty-one percent of million dollar buyers pay cash for their home; nearly 70 percent have made their money recently; and, the vast majority of million dollar buyers are married. Two-thirds are members of the baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964), and just four percent are under 34 years of age.

What do people do who earn enough money to afford a million dollar house? The survey said doctors, bankers, lawyers, stockbrokers, actors, musicians and inventors are the principal occupations of these home buyers.

Of those who took on a mortgage, nearly 20 percent put down half or more of the sales price. Most million dollar buyers are also planning on investing more cash in the home by doing major renovations. And few, if any, disclose their negotiation strategies to their buyer’s agent or the seller’s agent.

Eighty-nine percent of luxury home buyers look for a home with at least four or five bedrooms. And approximately half of all million dollar-plus homes have between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet.

Inside the home, designer kitchens are the top priority with regard to luxury-home amenities. After that, the most requested amenities include a media/entertainment room with theater-style seating, wine cellar, tennis courts/basketball courts, indoor pool and ballroom/cigar room.

Sounds like a nice place to visit.

Published: Sep 27, 1999