Could changes to DACA affect homeownership rates?

by Jessica Hamrick

On Tuesday, the White House officially announced President Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, pending a sixth month grace period. Though economists remain unsure about what implications — if any — a DACA repeal might pose to the U.S. economy overall, some speculate that the housing market could face lasting affects should the Obama-era immigration order come to an end without a suitable replacement from Congress.

Enacted in 2012, DACA issues temporary work permits to nearly 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants. Nicknamed ‘Dreamers’, these immigrants make up a relatively small portion of the United States 11 million undocumented population and, as such, don’t necessarily hold too much weight when it comes to impacting the market at large.

Holding 800,000 productive members of the community in such a transient state could be problematic for housing stats.

According to HousingWire, when immigrants become citizens the homeownership rate practically doubles to 69.7 percent. This would indicate a massive influx of possible buyers into a market currently struggling to instill confidence in potential young homeowners.

Without a path to citizenship, Dreamers would face significant difficulties when entering the housing market — even with well paying jobs and access to education — ultimately limiting the boost they would likely provide.

Source: HousingWire

Moreover, the future of U.S. construction also hangs in the balance as Congress debates DACA in the coming months.

“Given the chronic shortage of residential construction workers, there has never been a more critical time for Congress to enact effective [immigration] reforms that would help revitalize the economy and boost the housing sector,” explains Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders.

States with traditionally immigrant-heavy populations like Texas and Florida remain unable to find enough skilled construction workers to meet demand. Should congress find themselves unable to pass a comprehensive immigration plan in the wake of DACA’s removal, this existing disparity may only get worse.