June 2006

IZA DP No. 2189: Immigration and Housing Rents in American Cities

published in: Journal of Urban Economics, 2007, 61(2), 345-371

Is there a local economic impact of immigration? Immigration pushes up rents and housing values in US 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. An immigration inflow equal to 1% of a city’s population is associated with increases in average rents and housing values of about 1%. The results suggest an economic impact that is an order of magnitude bigger than that found in labor markets.