by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News
HOUSTON, TX — Donald Trump launched his historic and controversial presidential campaign with a promise to end illegal immigration, and a pledge to deport an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.
The real estate market is now beginning to feel the effects of an unintended consequence of that policy — as immigrants, who have been leading the home-buying market in the past decade, are no longer feeling the optimistic about purchasing.
The Asian Real Estate Association of America is the largest Asian American professional organization in North America.
At their first inauguration gala in Houston, many expressed concern about the impact immigration policies is having on the Asian American housing market.
“This year has been a lot slower recently since Trump has taken office. People are scared to try to get pre-approved [to buy a house]. It has impacted business, and also people’s lives, who can’t lease or buy a house when they need to,” said real estate broker Tony Gonzales. “We have seen a big difference in the number of buyers in the Asan community. It’s a big impact.”
According to data, the housing markets most at risk include Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, which have the biggest concentrations of foreign-born buyers.
Brokers we spoke to say that even immigrants with high-paying jobs and valid visas are becoming more hesitant, as uncertainty regarding their future visa status causes worry about their jobs and family’s future.
“There’s a lot of hesitation. They’re sitting on the sidelines, because they don’t know what’s going to happen,” said broker Stephen Le Jr. “And you can see that they are pulling back from purchasing homes. It is definitely having an impact. Until we have a clearer answer from the Trump administration on how he’s going to handle immigration situation, it’s going to put people on the sidelines… and they’re not going to move forward to buy home.”
“During the first time we bought our house, they didn’t ask us about our residency status. This time around they did ask for that, along with additional forms, and so many years of tax information,” said Ricky and Ella Guinhawa, who are recent homebuyers.
AREAA representatives are headed to Washington DC for the 2017 Policy Summit, to meet face to face with members of Congress to discuss issues related to Asian American immigrant housing.
“America the beautiful is a much more beautiful America because of the [immigrant] community,” said Congressman Al Green. “So we are going to do everything that we can to make sure the welcome mat stays out, and so that America can continue to be a beacon of hope for the world.”