Force of Immigrants Washington Post

Monday, February 4, 2008; Page A20

 

William Campenni [Free for All, Jan. 26] criticized The Post for ignoring a correlation between a decline in housing prices and the presence of immigrants in an area.

 

But my experience says that immigrants were the heat that made the housing market boil and bubble. My townhouse cluster, where prices had been stagnant for years, provided this example:

 

The townhouse next door sold in 1999 for $97,000 to a native-born couple. They fixed it up, sold it two years later to an immigrant for $167,000 and used the money to buy a new house west of here. How could the new buyer afford the price? He rented rooms to other immigrants and made his mortgage payments. He sold in 2006 to a pair of immigrants for $367,000 and so could move to a better neighborhood. The new owners also tried the same rental process, but that depended on a continued flow of immigrants with jobs and needing rooms. When the anti-immigration forces started to scare off people, the bubble burst. The house is now on the market for $309,000. It has great neighbors.

 

BILL HARSHAW

 

Published on 04/02/2008 17:54:56