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Working Papers

Immigration and Housing Rents in American Cities

Working paper #433
Albert Saiz and Susan M. Wachter

Is there a local economic impact of immigration? Immigration pushes up rents and housing values in destination cities. The positive association of rent growth and immigrant inflows is pervasive in time series for all metropolitan areas. I use instrumental variables based on a “shift-share” of national levels of immigration into metropolitan areas. Conditioning on other variables, an immigration inflow equal to 1% of the city population is associated with increases in rents and housing values of about 1%. The results suggest an economic impact that is an order of magnitude bigger than that found on labor markets.

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