Saturday, May 22, 2010

State's migrant law may affect housing market

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic May. 18, 2010 04:18 PM

Real-estate analysts are beginning to question what impact Arizona's controversial new immigration law will have on Phoenix's housing market.

The new law soon could be factored into real-estate forecasts for the region, just as employment and foreclosure figures are. How Arizona residents and out-of-state homebuyers react to Senate Bill 1070 could drive population trends.

Mike Orr, who publishes the Cromford Report, said from a housing-market perspective, the consequences of SB 1070 "seem more likely to be negative than positive."

"Estimates are that there are several hundred thousand undocumented aliens residing in Arizona," he said in a recent housing report. "If the law has the intended effect and these people do leave, then both population and demand for housing will probably decline."

Orr believes these are the two key issues: If certain parts of the population feel victimized or less welcome even though they have legal residency, they may choose to move voluntarily; and out-of-state or out-of-country buyers who are considering buying a vacation or investment home in Arizona may not, either to boycott the state or because the housing market seems less likely to improve.

If more people move to metro Phoenix from outside Arizona in the next few months, it can be tracked through property records. The same can be done for sellers moving out of Arizona.

Orr wants full disclosure on his position. He's a resident of Arizona, a documented immigrant and can't vote.

New law for renters

A bill requiring landlords to give tenants of Arizona foreclosure homes at least 30 days to move out has been signed into law. House Bill 2766, sponsored by Rep. Barbara McGuire, D-Kearny, requires tenants receive written notice at least 90 days before the foreclosure sale date of the home. If the landlord fails to comply, the tenant may recover damages or one month's rent, plus the amount of the security deposit and attorney fees.

Foreclosure aid

The Arizona Housing Department's plan for spending $125 million in federal funds to slow foreclosures includes a website, where homeowners can apply for the aid.

The state agency had planned to use savemyhome, but that may change. There are several for-profit sites run by real-estate firms with similar names. The federal funding won't be available in Arizona until July. Until then, go to www.azhousing .gov for information.

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State's migrant law may affect housing market

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