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NAHREP Report: Latinos, First-Time Homebuyers Are the Key to the Housing Recovery

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RISMedia, June 21, 2011—The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) has published a report “The State of Hispanic Homeownership” that offers an overview of compelling data on the Hispanic home buyer market and why it is poised—due to its population size, high desire and buying clout—to drive first-time home buyer purchases and accelerate the nation’s economic recovery.

According to the report, minorities and immigrants will drive growth in housing demand due to their population size, age and greater propensity to be married with children. In particular, within the next 15 years, they are expected to drive demand for condominiums, smaller starter homes and first trade-up homes. They are also expected to represent a rapidly growing segment of the middle and middle-upper markets for housing.

“The Latin boom has been forecasted for years but we are now seeing the front edge of it and it has the potential to help the nation’s housing system get back on track if we can create a safe credit environment for new buyers to get into the market,” says Carmen Mercado, president of the 18,000-member trade group. “Our report quotes data from a number of sources that highlight the fact that enthusiasm for homeownership in the Hispanic community remains as strong as ever.”

The report, which was penned by former Housing Fellow, Researcher, Author and Watchdog Alejandro Becerra, asserts that a combination of forces make it likely that Hispanics are poised to reinvigorate the ailing housing market including:

• Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the nation and represent a growing portion of the age group 26 to 46 years of age that are involved in most home sales

• More than other population groups, Hispanics can pick up stakes and move to other parts of the country in search of better jobs and more affordable housing;

• Hispanics continue to attain steady gains in income, education and entrepreneurship and demonstrate a strong work ethic, desire to succeed and purchase power enabling more of them to achieve homeownership;

• The current environment of record low interest rates, government-backed loans and less predatory lending are making sustainable homeownership more affordable.

Past national housing surveys also reveal that Hispanics strongly aspire to become homeowners and are more motivated than the general population to buy a home for both emotional and financial reasons. Strong family values, larger family sizes compel this group by a wide margin to yearn for a place to call home. Fifty-seven percent of Hispanics consider owning a home a symbol of success, compared to only 33 percent of all Americans.

While Hispanics have been severely impacted by foreclosure, the larger population of potential home buyers were unaffected by the crisis and demonstrate an eagerness to become homeowners. The association’s report maintains that tight credit, higher fees, stricter underwriting requirements continue to remain barriers and that down payment assistance and savings programs are crucial to enabling buyers to afford homes even at present historic low prices.

While policy makers, industry leaders and consumer groups are in the midst of an intense debate around Qualified Residential Mortgages (QRM) and other key issues the report advocates for housing policy that protects consumers but allows for an industry that can adequately serve and meet the affordable housing needs of low- and moderate-income households.

About NAHREP

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, a non-profit 501c6 trade association, is dedicated to increasing the homeownership rate among Latinos by educating and empowering the real estate professionals that serve them. Based in San Diego, NAHREP is the premier trade organization for Hispanics and has more than 18,000 members in 48 states and 50 affiliate chapters.

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