An exodus of people - both legal and illegal residents - could be one more drag on a housing-market recovery. Departures from a state where growth is the economic foundation could add to the number of foreclosures and vacant houses and apartments, all of which will hurt the housing industry just as signs of recovery are starting to appear.
Driving illegal immigrants out of Arizona is one stated purpose of the new immigration law. But the law, experts say, could also drive out legal residents and deter potential new residents - people who are afraid of what might happen to them or who simply object to the law.
Real-estate analysts and economists are watching for signs that both illegal and legal residents are moving from the state, while also tracking the number of newcomers to Arizona. After the immigration law goes into effect July 29, it may become one more factor in real-estate forecasts for the region.
"Estimates are that there are several hundred thousand undocumented aliens residing in Arizona," said Phoenix housing analyst Mike Orr, publisher of the Cromford Report, a daily housing-research report. "If the law has the intended effect and these people do leave, then both population and demand for housing will probably decline."
Of course, this may be what the folks in Arizona want. Good luck with that one.