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Ośrodek Badań nad Migracjami

Barbara Jancewicz. 2023.

Real estate in the home country: Why Polish migrants keep properties in Poland


International Migration


Real estate is often the most visible contribution that emigrants add to their home country's landscape. Such properties serve different functions, from rental investments, through migrant families' homes, to holiday homes or empty spaces. Economists often view real estate through financial lens, frowning upon vacant houses. I argue that keeping vacant houses is often caused by social and emotional factors rather than financial ones. This article uses data from 120 qualitative interviews with Polish EU migrants and juxtaposes them with the typology of remittance houses proposed by Boccagni and Erdal. The data, combined with the theoretical perspective of Neoclassical Economics, New Economics of Labour Migration, and Grzymała-Kazłowska's concept of social anchoring, allow me to improve the typology. The updated typology systematises the functions of and reasons why migrants keep properties in their home countries and provides a sound frame for future research and policymaking