The root of our current financial crisis is, of course, the rapid deflation of the housing bubble. Let’s assume for the purpose of discussion that the consequences of allowing this downturn to follow its natural course are sufficiently dangerous to warrant our adoption of policies favoring home sellers over new home buyers. Can we use immigration policy to stimulate the housing market? For years, hi tech employers have been grousing about their inability to hire adequate numbers of skilled workers from overseas. Restrictive visa policies stymie hiring efforts.
Suppose the government introduced a temporary immigration policy which offered visas to prospective immigrants on the condition that they buy a house and live for at least 3 (?) years in one of a number of designated regions where the failing subprime loans are concentrated. Either an employer’s guarantee or some cash bond would be required to ensure the visa applicant would fulfill the conditions of immigration.
The specifics of such an arrangement are outside my area of expertise. Are Silicon Valley employers so desperate to hire (in a possibly recessionary economy) that they would be willing to set up satellite offices in towns with depressed housing markets? What is the relative size of the sufficiently well heeled potential immigrant community and the overhang in housing?
If such a policy failed to help the market, the end result would still be an increase in highly educated immigrants. That sounds good to me.