Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Stan Ross, Managing Partner, E&Y Kenneth Leventhal

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Stan Ross, Managing Partner, E&Y Kenneth Leventhal

Article excerpt

As mergers and new fears of overbuilding make real estate headlines, much of the industry is ignoring one of the most important future influences on real estate - immigration.

JPM: EYKL's new report on immigration notes that approximately 1 million immigrants a year arrived in the U.S. between 1991 and 1996. Do you see this flow continuing?

Ross: We believe that the tide will keep coming, perhaps making the 1990s the decade with the greatest amount of immigration in this century. There is a great deal of economic uncertainty throughout the world, and these periods of instability help drive immigration whether it is Russian immigrants after the fall of Communism or Vietnamese or Indonesians from the economic woes of the Asian flu. Mexico and Latin America also will continue as a major source of new immigrants, both because of proximity and because of the unsettled nature of the Mexican economy.

Unless immigration restrictions are changed, the National Academy of Sciences estimates that immigration-driven increases in population will give the United States a population by 2050 that is 25 percent of Spanish or Latin-American origin, and 8 percent Asian. By comparison, in 2050, whites will be only about 50 percent of the population and blacks will increase to only 14 percent.

JPM: One of the interesting points made in your report is that the immigrants of the nineties, unlike their counterparts of a century ago, are more intent upon retaining the customs of their native countries. How will this trend affect their housing and working patterns?

Ross: Because immigrants are less eager to assimilate rapidly into their new country, they will achieve a higher comfort level by remaining near others of similar backgrounds. By retaining their customs, immigrants will try to maintain the best of both worlds, at least for the first and second generations. After that point, immigrants tend to be more completely assimilated to the values and tastes of America.

Another aspect of this tendency to live near fellow countrymen is that most immigrants will continue to be concentrated in a few states. Census data from 1996 show that 68 percent of immigrants live in six states - California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. …

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