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KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market

Real Estate

Controversial immigration bill could impact housing

An immigration bill filed last week by a handful of bipartisan senators could trigger widespread change for the housing market if passed.

Under the provisions of the proposed legislation, most undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country before December 31, 2011 would be granted residency.

"This concept has the potential to lift demand for the nation's excess in homes," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who originally proposed the measure in October 2011, argued at the time.

Critics of the bill point to a recent shortage of homes in many neighborhoods.

Minorities and immigrants made up a respective 35 percent and 19 percent of the first-time buyer market in 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors. Those numbers are expected to increase as more foreign-born citizens settle here and apply for mortgages.

Research from the University of California research predicts that the share of immigrants who own rather than rent homes in the United States will reach 72 percent in 2030 - up from 25.5 percent in 2000.

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