What if the U.S. granted resident status to foreigners who buy homes here? According to Richard Lefrak and Gary Shilling in the Wall Street Journal, it could do a tremendous amount of good for the housing market.

A better idea is to offer permanent residence status to the many foreigners who are clamoring to get into the U.S. — if they buy houses of minimal values (not shacks). They wouldn’t need to live in those houses, but in order to remove the unit from the total housing market, they couldn’t rent them. Their temporary resident status granted upon purchase would become permanent after, perhaps, five years, if they still owned the houses and maintained clean records.

The mere announcement of this program might well stop the ongoing collapse in house prices, especially in cities such as Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and San Francisco, where prices are down 40% — but where many foreigners like to live.

There is much sense in the piece — worth a read and worth a comment.