More than half of Latino homebuyers report that one of their chief barriers to homeownership is finding a trustworthy adviser who can guide them through the home buying process, according to a study released at the National Association of Realtors Annual Conference and Expo in Orlando, Fla.
Conducted by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute of the University of Southern California, the survey of 1,400 Mexican Americans in Atlanta, Houston and Los Angeles showed that at least 1.5 million Latino households will buy homes by 2010. But the report indicated that the housing industry could help another 700,000 families become homeowners by providing Latino renters with bilingual outreach, counseling and access to innovative mortgage products. Though homeownership is always one of the highest goals among most immigrant families, the survey showed that the lack of trusted sources of information is a key barrier to homeownership facing Mexican American families. Other obstacles include unfamiliarity with the mortgage process, saving for a down payment and finding a trustworthy adviser.
Real estate agents who help buyers overcome such obstacles will stand to gain in the coming years as minority populations and their buying power increase rapidly, said National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Chair and Cofounder Gary Acosta. Those difficulties constitute problems we need to solve, but they also point to important opportunities that will result from bringing members of the underserved group into the mainstream. As trusted, well-informed advisers, realtors have the ability to help an entire generation of Latino families achieve the American dream of homeownership."
Another study, by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, released at NARs forum on diversity indicated that the combined buying power of all minority groups, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans, would exceed $1.5 trillion by 2009, constituting the fifth largest economy in the world.
Oscar Gonzales, director of the Asian Real Estate Association of America and president of The Gonzales Group of Sugar Land, Texas, provided additional insight in the form of a new study on Asian homeownership.
While Census data and other sources reveal a population that has made great strides in almost every aspect of American life, the Asian American population remains one with many families struggling to realize dreams of a better life, including homeownership, he said. Asian Americans are the fastest growing ethnic population, numbering more than 12 million or approximately 4.5 percent of the total U.S. population. This group is expected to triple in size by the year 2050. Yet, despite the myth of a prosperous community, nationally Asian American homeownership rates fall behind those of non-Hispanic Whites by approximately 20 percent. These findings affirm our mission and goals to expand the awareness of housing challenges facing Asian Americans.