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Leaders of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals say the accelerated growth rate of Hispanic homeownership reported in the 2011 third quarter Census numbers are evidence of the potential purchase power of Latinos in the housing recovery. Census figures show the Hispanic homeownership grew by 288,000 units, accounting for more than half of the total growth in homeownership (53%) in the United States during that period. While some economists may argue the trend is an anomaly, Hispanic real estate leaders Gary Acosta, Ernie Reyes, Carmen Mercado, Jerry Ascencio and former housing fellow Alejandro Becerra suggest the data is the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.

The total growth in homeownership for all other minority groups and non-Hispanic Whites was 257,000 units (47%). Homeownership growth among non-Hispanic White households increased by only18,000 units during the same period. The latest data also shows the number of young Latinos in college has doubled since 2000 and jumped 24% (349,000) between 2009 and 2010, compared with a decrease of 320,000 young non-Hispanic Whites.

“Hispanics are now helping struggling local economies across our nation through population growth and purchase power. We believe these same dynamics will be a driving force in the resurgence of the housing market in the near term,” said Carmen Mercado, NAHREP President.

NAHREP, a 20,000 member nonprofit trade association with 50 affiliate chapters in 48 states, published a report The State of Hispanic Homeownership last June that offers an overview of compelling data on the Hispanic homebuyer market and why it is poised, due to population size, high desire and buying clout to drive first-time homebuyer purchases and accelerate the nation’s economic recovery. A digital copy of the report is available for download.

The association’s co-founders Ernie Reyes and Gary Acosta, who have tracked the progress of Hispanic homeownership over the past 10 years, are not surprised by the recent surge of home buying despite the formidable barriers because of strong pent up demand. Both minority leaders feel the home buying activity among Latinos will be even greater as the market stabilizes. “Latinos do not believe in renting. They believe in owning,” says Reyes. “If our community was given half the opportunity it deserves, this volume would grow by leaps and bounds”

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