Home > Website archive > News and media > News archives > 2012 > 01 > Skilled migrants have little direct impact on UK housing market

Skilled migrants have little direct impact on UK housing market

Skilled workers coming from outside the EU to work in the UK put minimal pressure on the housing market according to a new report by LSE London.

According to the report, commissioned by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), their impact on house prices is likely to be less than one per cent over the next five years.

On arriving in the UK nearly 80 per cent of economic migrants from outside the EU initially live in the private rented sector or with friends and family –  only 20 per cent becoming owner-occupiers. This tenure mix changes only slowly, with owner-occupation rising to 45 per cent after five years.

These skilled migrants are mostly concentrated in London, Reading (because of its high concentration of IT firms), Ipswich (because of R&D companies) and Aberdeen (because of the oil industry). Their immediate impact is on the rental market in these areas, but the research also found that they are often competing for housing with other migrants rather than UK tenants.

Yellow houseBetween 2011 and 2017 the report estimates that skilled migrants will form just over 100,000 additional households in the UK. The report points out that this is small in comparison to the projected total 1.5 million additional households that will be formed during the same period.

In the first years after arriving in the UK even better off migrants tend to form fewer households and to live at higher densities compared to equivalent indigenous households. However, the longer they stay, the more their housing consumption resembles that of similar UK households.

Professor Christine Whitehead, of LSE London, said: "We had to work with limited information on the characteristics of these migrants and therefore their housing needs. However we can be clear that they initially form fewer households and consume less housing than their UK counterparts but come to resemble the general population over time.

"Most migrants coming to the UK are from other EU countries and are entitled to move to the UK without any restrictions. They will have a very much stronger impact on the housing market than do these non-EU skilled migrants."

The researchers used data from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, Annual Population Survey and the Survey of English Housing. Interviews were also conducted with estate agents, relocation agents and major employers who transfer their employees internationally to talk about migrants' housing demands.

The MAC also commissioned a report from LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance on the impact of migration on crime. The report found that migrants from the EU accession countries and those entering under work-related programmes are less likely to be involved with property crime than UK natives.

Brian Bell, one of the report’s authors said: “If you are coming to work in the UK then it’s perhaps understandable that you are less likely to be involved in property crime.

“In fact we found that crime was lower in neighbourhoods with high concentrations of migrants than in areas with similar demographics but lower numbers of migrants”

The data suggests that migrants are no more likely than UK natives to commit violent crime.

10 January 2112

The impact of migration on access to housing and the housing market, LSE London

The impact of migration on crime and victimisation, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE

More information for the media is available from the press office:

Sue Windebank T: 020 7849 6424, e: s.windebank@lse.ac.uk