While the Hispanic community has traditionally always been underrepresented as homeowners in the U.S., that looks like it’s changing, with the latest trends suggesting that longstanding gaps in homeownership are closing.
Fifty-eight percent of Hispanic home shoppers are first-time buyers, significantly higher than the rest of the U.S. population (34%). A new survey conducted by realtor.com and the National Association for Hispanic Real Estate Professionals found an increasing presence of Hispanics in the housing market, and the organizations predict that number will continue to grow.
Latinos are predicted to account for 70% of new homeowners over the next 20 years, the study shows. “Insights into Latino home buying will be critical to understanding how to sustain growth in the housing market,” says Gary Acosta, co-founder and CEO of NAHREP.
Homeownership is an important tool for building generational wealth, and many Latinos want to pass a home on to their children. Seventy-three percent of survey respondents say they plan to pass a home on to their children someday. With home values increasing at staggering rates over the last few years, wealth gained from owning a home over the long term could be significant. The 2017 Census showed that homeowners' median wealth was 89 times higher than that of renters.
"Homeownership can be a way to build generational wealth for families, but there are significant barriers to entry, especially in today's high-priced and fast-moving housing market," said George Ratiu, manager of economic research, Realtor.com. "There are a number of programs available to help first-time buyers break into the market, but many people either don't know that these programs exist or don't know where to start in finding one that works for their situation."
There are a number of programs available to help first-time homebuyers break into the market, but awareness of these programs is low. More than half (55%) of non-homeowners have neither used nor heard of these programs. However, 35% of homeowners surveyed had successfully used one of these programs, showing that the programs do work and increasing awareness of them is important in continuing to close the homeownership gap for Hispanic Americans.
Hispanic buyers also consider factoring in their extended family as they search for the right home. Seventeen percent of respondents say they want to buy a home that can accommodate extended family. Twenty-three percent of respondents said they are or would be the first generation in their family to own a home.