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RISMEDIA, Dec. 3, 2007-Asian Americans are an important and growing segment of prospective home buyers-quite possibly representing the antidote to a down real estate market-according to leading bankers, mortgage brokers and other real estate professionals who spoke at the recent convention of the Asian American Real Estate Association (AREAA).

AREAA is a leading trade organization committed to closing the homeownership gap for Asian Americans. More than 800 participants from around the world attended the event in Las Vegas, Nov. 11-13.

Top economists Douglas Duncan of the Mortgage Bankers Association and Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors® provided a forecast to help position businesses for success in the changing real estate environment. Carmela Ma, AREAA board member and convention co-chair, facilitated a panel of high-ranking real estate and finance leaders from China, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand to share the opportunities and challenges of dynamic growth in Asia.

According to AREAA, Asian-American homeownership has experienced the most rapid growth among all ethnic groups. Consider that in 2000, the Asian-American homeownership rate was 52.9%. By 2005, the rate jumped to almost 60%. No population, including non-Hispanic whites, has attained such rapid growth in homeownership.

In fact, experts estimate the rapidly growing purchasing power of Asian Americans will reach nearly $600 billion by the end of the decade.

It is these demographic shifts, combined with the robust international real estate environment, that are creating opportunities for economic growth, said Emily Moerdomo Fu, chairman of AREAA.

“The Asian American housing market could be one of the most profitable business lines that the market can pursue,” Fu said.

Fu said that on average, Asian-American home buyers have the highest median household income; the highest median downpayment; the highest average home purchase; the highest educational attainment; and some of the lowest delinquency and foreclosure rates.

“Additionally, the Asian American population is growing at a rapid rate,” she said, “and with average home-purchase prices and loan sizes greater than any other population, Asian-American consumers represent the most profitable segment of the housing market on a per-transaction basis.”

“We were proud to attend and sponsor this important convention,” said Malcolm Morris, chairman, Stewart Title. “The Stewart Title representatives who attended gained valuable knowledge to even better serve the dynamic Asian-American community that is so important to the fabric of American culture.”

“For any real estate and mortgage company to thrive in the future, the ability to tap the dynamic Asian-American market can no longer be viewed as peripheral to business success,” said Jim Park, AREAA CEO and president.

Park urged real estate and housing officials to join AREAA for its focus on increasing knowledge about this unique and growing market, as well as for its many professional development opportunities for real estate and mortgage professionals.

With more than 12,000 members in 38 states, AREAA is the only trade organization that represents the diverse Asian American community and gives Asian real estate professionals a voice in the various policy and business discussions that affect the real estate market and Asian American consumers.

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