Want to raise billions more taxes, energize the housing market and boost consumer spending?
Just pass immigration reform, argues Gary Acosta, co-founder and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP).
A study by the American Action Forum, a conservative think tank, projects that immigration reform would increase gross domestic product (GDP) by a percentage point a year and reduce federal deficits by $3.5 trillion over 10 years.
“If fiscal conservatives are doing the math on this, you know serious money is involved,” he writes in an article for Inman News, a real estate industry publication.
A 2004 NAHREP report, titled “The Potential for Homeownership Among Undocumented Workers,” estimated that immigration reform would generate about $44 billion in new mortgages.
“Reaction to the study was explosive,” Acosta notes. “NAHREP officials received hate mail, bigoted threats and criticism for suggesting that undocumented immigrants might gain access to a piece of the American dream.”
However, he claims, immigrants will account for 32.3 percent of the growth in all households, including a 35.7 percent increase in homeowners and a 26.4 percent increase in renter households, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association study.
Up to 6 million households could be affected by immigration reform, Acosta suggests, and it could generate up to 3 million new Hispanic homebuyers over the next several years.
Over five years, that would lead to over $500 billion in new mortgages, $25 billion in mortgage origination income, $28 billion in real estate transaction income and $180 billion in homeownership-related consumer spending.
“Talk about a compelling case for change,” he writes. “At a time when mayors and state and national leaders are trying to find ways to balance budgets, recover lost tax revenues wrought by the foreclosure crisis and stimulate job growth, immigration reform could open the door to achieving all of the above.”
The White House has also touted the economic benefits of immigration reform, arguing that several independent studies say the reform bill passed by the Senate would increase GDP, capital investment and the number of entrepreneurs starting companies. It would also reduce the federal deficit, balance out an aging population and strengthen Social Security.
The House of Representatives has not considered the Senate bill, which includes a pathway to citizenship and stronger border security.