diversity in action

See where Austin ranks among top U.S. cities with foreign-born homeowners

See where Austin ranks among U.S. cities with foreign-born homeowners

Austin home for sale
Foreign-born owners make up about 9 percent of Austin homeowners. Photo courtesy of Redfin

Texans already enjoy the lofty status as the second most diverse state in America. Now, some of the largest cities in the Lone Star State score high on a list of cities with the highest number of immigrant homeowners.

A new report from Lending Tree ranks Austin No. 21 among the 50 largest American cities with the most foreign-born homeowners. Elsewhere in Texas, Houston comes in at No. 6, Dallas comes in at No. 12, and San Antonio comes in at No. 22. Miami; San Jose, California; and Los Angeles top the list.

The list breaks down foreign-born home ownership rates, native-born home ownership rates, a foreign-born-to-total-population ratio, a total home ownership rate, and median home price. 

Austin, which clocks in at No. 21 overall, has a foreign-born home ownership rate of 9 percent, with a foreign-born total population rate of 15.1 percent. Austin’s native-born home ownership rate comes in at 48.7 percent with a total home ownership rate of 57.7 percent. The Capital City’s median home value is higher than Houston and Dallas, coming in at $283,600. (It's worth noting that the median value in Lending Tree's study is much lower than the $302,250 Austin Board of Realtors released in their October 16 report.)

Houston’s foreign-born home ownership rate comes in at 16.6 percent, compared to a native-born home ownership rate of 44.1 percent — for a total home ownership rate of 60.7 percent. (Houston’s foreign-born to-total-population ratio clocks in at 23.6 percent.) Perhaps most impressive on the Lending Tree list is Houston’s median home value, which at $192,900, is the lowest among the top 10 cities.

By way of comparison, at No. 12, Dallas' foreign-born home ownership rate is 11.7 percent, with a foreign-born-to-total-population rate of 18.7 percent. Dallas’s native-born home ownership rate comes in at 47.9 percent and its total home ownership rate is 59.7 percent. Dallas also boasts big-city value with a median home value of $214,900.

San Antonio trails Austin, but not by much. Taking the 22nd spot, Alamo City has a foreign-born home ownership rate of 8.3 percent along with a foreign-born-to-total-population rate of 11.6 . percent. San Antonio natives comprise 54.9 percent of homeowners, the highest among Texas cities, whereas the median home value $170,100 is the lowest. Overall, 63.3 percent of San Antonians are homeowners.

To determine the cities with the highest foreign-born homeownership rates and population, Lending Tree pulled data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The Lending Tree report was inspired by a recent Census Bureau data that shows the United States has the highest proportion of immigrants since 1910.

The survey was also fueled by another study released by Oxford University and Citi Research, which found that immigrant communities contribute to growth in the economy by starting businesses, increasing the labor pool, and adding demand for housing, according to a release.

The ranking notes that cities with larger foreign-born populations and homeowners have higher home prices. (Prices for the top 10 cities average $491,750 compared with $167,560 for the bottom 10.) Lending Tree also calculated the median home values for the top cities and found that those with a higher share of homes owned by foreign-born residents tend to have higher home prices.

“This is not to say that immigrants raise home prices — rather, it’s likely that immigrants gravitate towards these cities which have higher home prices, as they also have more dynamic economies and thus more employment opportunities,” says Lending Tree chief economist Tendayi Kapfidze.