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Queens Losing its Place as a Home for Immigrants

As non-owner-occupied homes increase in number in Queens neighborhoods, it's becoming harder for immigrants to afford a first home.
December 7, 2019, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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New York City, New York

Oscar Perry Abello writes about growing concerns that Queens is losing its identity as a place for immigrants to come to the country and establish a life—the death of the starter home is how the headline describes the stakes.

According to Abello, "community advocates are sounding the alarm that investor dollars are setting off market speculation that threaten to price out the first-time homebuyers, many of them immigrants, that made those neighborhoods such reliable places to sprout roots."

Abello, who has a family history of arriving in Queens to establish a life in the United States, shares news of a report published earlier this year by the Chhaya Community Development Corporation, which "found that mortgages for non-owner-occupied homes in Queens is now roughly triple what it was before the housing market crash of 2008."

"In three key neighborhoods that Chhaya has long considered a safe bet for first-time immigrant homebuyers, non-owner-occupied home mortgages accounted for 20-30 percent of home purchases in 2017," according to Abello. Local advocates are stepping up messaging, as explained in the article, that connects those non-owner-occupied home mortgages to large-scale investors.

Abello also calls attention to the role of the Federal Housing Administration's Distressed Asset Stabilization Program in shifting ownership of much of the borough's housing stock to large investors in the wake of the foreclosure crisis of the Great Recession.

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Published on Friday, December 6, 2019 in Next City
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