National Real Estate Forum

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Mar 12, 2017



Welcome to the second of two episodes with Professor Christopher Palmer of UC Berkeley.  In the last episode we discussed the impact on real estate of the changes in healthcare policy between the last administration and this one.  Today, our conversation focuses on immigration policy as a part of the Trump America First doctrine as it pertains to real estate. 

The America first doctrine has, by definition at its core, our relations in the international community.  The key policy issues that drive this doctrine include immigration, foreign policy, and international trade, and there are five key areas where their impact may be felt in real estate.  One, new development projects, two, the office sector, three, multi-family, four, retail, and five, manufacturing.  In my continuing conversation with Professor Palmer, we were discussing the administration’s current focus on immigration restrictions.   On its face, it might seem somewhat removed but, actually, how could putting America First affect real estate? 

  1. New development projects, and where such an important line item in costs is the cost of labor, plus where we already have such a shortage of labor, to restrict immigration could have serious deleterious effect on the construction industry – either by driving up costs, delaying construction timelines, or even postponing construction altogether.
  2. The office sector, where you see a declination in the employment on H-1 visas of highly skilled workers from overseas. Maybe you see a shift to more immigration friendly countries for development of hi-tech industry at the expense of local markets here in the United States, and a consequent reduction in demand for office space in those areas where highly skilled immigrants might otherwise have been employed.
  3. Multi-family. Find those areas with high density immigrant tenancy, and you might find areas where demand for multi-family housing may decline.
  4. ­As free-trade agreements become more restrictive or are abandoned completely, retailers are concerned that demand volumes may slip as imported products, a mainstay of retailing, become more expensive or harder to come by.
  5. With a strengthening dollar, the ability of our own domestic manufacturing sector to compete effectively overseas may be restricted, and manufacturing and consequent demand for industrial space may decline.

Maybe some of these sectors present investment opportunities as putting America First policies are implemented and, as their impact starts being felt here at home, some real estate comes under distress.

I hope you found this podcast, and the healthcare podcast of interest.  Thanks so much for listening.  If you like the podcast series, please consider subscribing on iTunes or Android or any of the other syndication platforms so that you don’t miss the next episode as it comes out.  Go to and there are subscription links on most pages.  Thanks once again to Professor Palmer for sharing his thoughts on these important real estate issues, and thank you too for joining me again today.