Homeownership of immigrants in France: selection effects related to international migration flows

Laurent Gobillon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Matthieu Solignac, University of Pennsylvania

We investigate the difference in homeownership rates between natives and first-generation immigrants in France, and how this difference evolves over the 1975-1999 period, by using a large longitudinal dataset. We find that the homeownership gap is large and has remained steady. Entries into the territory have a large negative effect on the evolution of homeownership rates for immigrants. Although entrants have on average better education than people staying in the territory for the entire period (i.e. stayers), they are younger and thus at an earlier stage in the wealth accumulation process. They are also located in large cities, where the homeownership rate is lower, and the returns to their characteristics are lower than those for stayers. Leavers have a positive effect on the evolution of homeownership rates for immigrants because they have a low access to homeownership and they exit the country. But this effect is only one-third that of entrants. For stayers, we show that returns to characteristics change in favor of immigrants, which is consistent with assimilation theories. However, among stayers who access homeownership, immigrants end up in owned dwellings that are of lesser quality than natives.

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Presented in Session 103: Immigrants' economic and material well-being: causes and consequences