More immigration to plug the worker shortage? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15246731
The media seems to be calling for more immigrants to plug the worker shortages.
But right now there are also shortages of available housing and sky high rent price levels. Adding more people is not going to help that issue.
Does the country really need more immigration at a time like now?

Remember, a lot of these immigrants are poor and can't afford to pay for new housing. So they will be instead taking up the already existing housing, especially at the lower end, and that's going to exacerbate the shortage of affordable housing that already exists.

The housing shortages affects the poor and the young adult generation the most. This population is also the least likely to buy a newly constructed house.

Land costs also make up a significant percentage of the cost of a house in some areas. In San Francisco, for example, the land underneath the house costs several times more than it would cost to construct a new house. That means that even if immigration might decrease construction costs a little bit, it would be unlikely to have much effect on lowering new home prices, when the main issue is availability of space to build on, not the cost of building.
#15246732
Puffer Fish wrote:
the main issue is availability of space to build on, not the cost of building.



To *extend* this, I'll add that it's not about the raw availability of *actual geographic space*, but rather it's about the *exchange value valuations* of this-or-that parcel of land / real estate.

So, for example, if someone doesn't have enough cash-in-hand to pay the required *rent* for a particular rental unit then that person will *not be allowed* to access that particular physical / geographical space, for their life and living.

It's really 'putting-the-cart-before-the-horse' to get into *demographics* about prospective renters (where they happened to be born), when the *overall* issue is really about economic access.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rental_vacancy_rate

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_inequality
#15246740
ckaihatsu wrote:To *extend* this, I'll add that it's not about the raw availability of *actual geographic space*, but rather it's about the *exchange value valuations* of this-or-that parcel of land / real estate.

Anyone could live out in the middle of nowhere where the land doesn't cost too much, but it would probably be in a region with an unpleasant climate, no availability of water, and far away from any decent job opportunities.
The reality is most of the population in any country lives in areas where land prices constitute a significant part of home prices.

Obviously if you add more people, these land prices will go up, tending to impart an effect on home prices. That's the main reason many areas are unaffordable, they are simply overcrowded. And I don't see government building any great new city areas.
#15246744
Puffer Fish wrote:
Anyone could live out in the middle of nowhere where the land doesn't cost too much, but it would probably be in a region with an unpleasant climate, no availability of water, and far away from any decent job opportunities.
The reality is most of the population in any country lives in areas where land prices constitute a significant part of home prices.

Obviously if you add more people, these land prices will go up, tending to impart an effect on home prices. That's the main reason many areas are unaffordable, they are simply overcrowded. And I don't see government building any great new city areas.



Agreed -- the radial gradient of metropolitan upscale land values, outward, means that the real estate pricings / values are out-of-whack with the *utility* provided to renters / owners / users of land. In other words we're all led to believe by default that market real estate prices are 'valid', and that they somehow reflect the *use*, or utility, that people get out of each unit or parcel.

But this obviously can't be the case, because these market prices *fluctuate*, according to supply-and-demand, as you've covered. So if more people are economically 'demanding' pricier areas with their money, then the price goes *up*, as we're currently seeing. This pricing / valuation then has *little* to do with the cost of *creating* that unit or parcel, nor does it accurately reflect the sense of 'use value' to the purchaser / renter, in the sense of proportion-of-income (spent on rent).

Yet we're expected to believe that the one 'price' value can somehow represent *all three* variables / qualities at once, 'use', 'supply and demand', and 'construction', all at once.
#15246745
Puffer Fish wrote:The media seems to be calling for more immigrants to plug the worker shortages.
But right now there are also shortages of available housing and sky high rent price levels. Adding more people is not going to help that issue.
Does the country really need more immigration at a time like now?

Remember, a lot of these immigrants are poor and can't afford to pay for new housing. So they will be instead taking up the already existing housing, especially at the lower end, and that's going to exacerbate the shortage of affordable housing that already exists.

The housing shortages affects the poor and the young adult generation the most. This population is also the least likely to buy a newly constructed house.

Land costs also make up a significant percentage of the cost of a house in some areas. In San Francisco, for example, the land underneath the house costs several times more than it would cost to construct a new house. That means that even if immigration might decrease construction costs a little bit, it would be unlikely to have much effect on lowering new home prices, when the main issue is availability of space to build on, not the cost of building.

Does not seem like a big issue. There are tons of immigrants in the areas that I have lived, and funny enough rarely any of them are homeless. Most of the time either the whole family works and are able to pay for accommodations or they get into multifamily arrangements and/or roommates.
The housing situation, in particular in large cities, has nothing to do with immigration. It is related to failed zoning policies, greed, mismanagement, etc. Blaming on immigration is merely scapegoating.
#15246774
XogGyux wrote:The housing situation, in particular in large cities, has nothing to do with immigration. Blaming on immigration is merely scapegoating.

Isn't it true that prices could not be that high if there were not so many people competing for the same area?

Plus, everyone knows that immigrants are more desperate, so are often willing to pay a higher percentage of their income in rent. Or they crowd many people into a smaller space. Part of this is because they are accustomed to living in a big extended family in their cultures. An adult woman sleeping with her mother in the same room, for example, is not at all unusual.

Immigrants may earn less, but three income earners living together can still pay more rent than one middle class income earner.

And then there's a feedback mechanism. When housing prices in an area rise high enough that people in many types of jobs have difficulty living in that area, then those people move away. (This is often the younger generation who do not own a home yet) This then results in a vacuum, which draws in immigrants to city areas, because businesses begin having trouble finding other workers. Eventually you are left with a situation where all the lower level jobs are filled by immigrants and only the highest paying jobs are done by "natives".
#15246779
Puffer Fish wrote:
Isn't it true that prices could not be that high if there were not so many people [immigrants] competing for the same area?



*Or*...



Home prices, as a multiple of annual rent, have been 15 since World War II. In the bubble, prices reached a multiple of 26. In 2008, prices had fallen to a multiple of 22.[125]



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of ... _multiples
#15246784
ckaihatsu wrote:Home prices, as a multiple of annual rent, have been 15 since World War II. In the bubble, prices reached a multiple of 26. In 2008, prices had fallen to a multiple of 22.

That's not necessarily a meaningful number, since we are mainly talking about increases in housing costs overall, both rent levels and home prices.

You haven't really contributed anything to the debate with that statistic.
#15246813

Home prices, as a multiple of annual rent, have been 15 since World War II. In the bubble, prices reached a multiple of 26. In 2008, prices had fallen to a multiple of 22.[125]



Puffer Fish wrote:
That's not necessarily a meaningful number, since we are mainly talking about increases in housing costs overall, both rent levels and home prices.

You haven't really contributed anything to the debate with that statistic.



Both rent levels *and* home prices are covered / addressed in the report since it mentions that the two are *proportional* to each other.

You were making the argument that a particular *demographic*, immigrants, had some purportedly *disproportionate* impact on housing and rent prices, but the data show that these two prices track to *each other* in some systematic way over the decades.

If you're going to say that the data *I* provided is spurious, then *your* argument is *definitely* spurious since you haven't provided *anything* to back up your claim.
#15246818
Puffer Fish wrote:
That's not necessarily a meaningful number, since we are mainly talking about increases in housing costs overall, both rent levels and home prices.

You haven't really contributed anything to the debate with that statistic.



That's not a meaningful criticism.

In fact, you started this thread whining about high housing costs:

"But right now there are also shortages of available housing and sky high rent price levels. "

This starts with changing zoning to reflect that actual needs of the city and the people in it,
#15246843
ckaihatsu wrote:Both rent levels *and* home prices are covered / addressed in the report since it mentions that the two are *proportional* to each other.

You were making the argument that a particular *demographic*, immigrants, had some purportedly *disproportionate* impact on housing and rent prices, but the data show that these two prices track to *each other* in some systematic way over the decades.

Sorry, I don't see how that really makes any logical sense at all.

First of all, that's not really exactly what I claimed. And secondly, even if that was precisely my claim, housing prices remaining proportional to rent prices would have nothing to do with that.

You seem to perhaps lost yourself in an understanding of the math.

It's irrelevant whether the ratio of A to B remains the same year after year. My point isn't about the ratio of A to B. It's about the effect of C on both A and B.
I don't see why you think the ratio of A to B is relevant.

If you add more people and there is more overcrowding and housing shortages, both rent levels and home prices are going to increase. You agree with that, don't you?

The increase is not necessarily going to have an effect on the ratio between the two in any given year. I don't know why you latched onto that and think it's important.
#15246844
late wrote:This starts with changing zoning to reflect that actual needs of the city and the people in it,

Just an unrealistic red herring, in my view.

The zoning exists for a reason. Because these areas are already overcrowded, and that overcrowding leads to problems.

Maybe you'd like to explain to us why you feel changing zoning is a solution?


And even if that could be helpful, it still doesn't discount my point. Maybe this zoning change would not even be needed if it were not for immigration.
#15246848
According to the few studies I have read, immigration has almost no effect on housing prices.

While immigration does have a very slight pressure on demand by increasing the population, this has little impact on the market. This is because most immigrants are usually trying to access low income housing that most others do not want, when they first arrive.

The only time immigrants have a significant effect on market prices is when wealthy immigrants move to town and use their wealth to invest in real estate, buying up housing to use as investment properties.

So, the claim that immigrants are driving up the cost of housing seems unsupported.
#15246849
Puffer Fish wrote:
If you add more people and there is more overcrowding and housing shortages, both rent levels and home prices are going to increase. You agree with that, don't you?



No, actually, I *can't*, because many equity types would readily argue that markets can *expand* -- you're singling-out a particular population, migrants, who could just as well be considered 'the market demand for housing' (think historical subprime mortgages here). It boils down to whether the immigrants in question / at-issue are 'middle-class' / bourgeois / socially-acceptable, or not, like anyone else.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Discr ... ourgeoisie


On the *labor* side of things, if immigrants are also wage-laborers then the influx simply means that labor *supply* has now increased, which equity / investment capital *welcomes* and *relies on* in the capital-labor production process.



No labor shortages

Paul Donnelly, in a 2002 article in Computerworld, cited Milton Friedman as stating that the H-1B program acts as a subsidy for corporations.[160]



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-1B_visa ... _shortages



---


Also, note that you're talking about a *consumer market*, essentially (housing), so then the question outside of (political) (administrative) U.S. border policy is 'Do they have money to spend / invest' -- from the *economic* / business point of view.


Social Production Worldview

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#15246856
People manage to find places to live. Where there's a will, there's a way. Immigrants got determination and motivation.

I had Nepalese neighbors before. They knew how to cram into small homes. My sister said they set up sleeping bags in the house. Also when they party, it's like the whole village arrived. I miss it sometimes. But I didn't miss hearing some drunk guy cause his own car alarm to go off and he fumbled for a few minutes around 11pm. Man, it must've been some party. They love the Hindi music, curry and lots of food and people.

The United States always finds room for immigrants. I empathize with them because they remind me of my parents and the immigrants I have met throughout my life. They know how to survive. They know how to use their intelligence and use their abilities to get by. Most of them are hard-working and fun to be around. I cannot ever remember meeting a bitter immigrant. It is not all sunshine and fun for them, but they are grateful for the chance to be in the USA. They do not let negativity taint their soul.
#15246869
@MistyTiger

I agree with MistyTiger. Immigration enriches the United States. Plus, most immigrants contribute to the economy is signficant ways. Even if some have to take some assistance when first arriving in the United States, by and large they pay the United States back taxwise and even more so. Therefore, in the long term, being pro-immigration is important for the United States. However, you will always have regressive forces who view immigration as a threat to their own power who might oppose immigration. Moreover, most immigrants pay a lot of money in taxes and start businesses that employ Americans.
#15246901
Puffer Fish wrote:
Just an unrealistic red herring, in my view.




Psst, it's called reality.

It's also not new, Jane Jacobs figured it out in the early Sixties.

The Netherlands started down that road, decided it sucked, and for half a century they've worked to make their cities good places to live.







#15247008
Returning to the question in the OP, yes more immigration is needed as long as Americans are so unwilling to return to work. Many just want to work from home. Employers want people returning to the office. People working from home are less productive, make more mistakes and less happy. I have a colleague working from home who is often distracted and she has done a few things that have messed up my work. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and it's frustrating when little things can cause me to make mistakes as well.

Some workers will quit if they are not allowed to work from home. Employers cannot hire people fast enough. It's crazy how many job emails I have been getting these past 3 years. It makes me dizzy. I never got this much attention when I was younger. :eek:


@Politics_Observer Sadly, my experience around most Americans is that they feel discomfort or insecurity around foreigners. They do not like different eye shapes, different colored skin or different accents. They don't even like bilingual signs!

I am proud of my alma mater because they welcome diversity. There are always a number of foreign exchange students and they have a social club for foreign students. They even hired someone this past year to be in charge of the foreign student affairs department. The foreign students seem to be more willing to learn. My Finance intro professor had a heavy Chinese accent but she was so easy to understand. She put thought and attention into class notes and preparation. She is the best professor I have had in years, just talking about higher education. I haven't compared her to my high school teachers but she is impressive against many of my primary school teachers too. Foreigners tend to be more serious about their work. They are not sloppy or confused like a lot of Gen Z kids. I am around Gen Zers twice a week and many give me a headache. They act like they have no idea what's going on even if the instructor is speaking English. Come on, it's your native language! :roll:

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