The share of Latinx households in the U.S. that own their home is currently the highest it has been since the housing crash, showing the greatest improvement over the last five years. A new Zillow® analysis, however, found there are still obstacles to equitable housing for this segment of the population.
Latinx Americans make up more than 200 unique ancestries among the 60 million who live in the U.S., according to Zillow, and their homeownership gains in recent years have far exceeded those of other groups. About 18 percent of the U.S. population identifies as Latinx, and yet they have accounted for more than 60 percent of new U.S. homeowner gains over the last ten years. The Latinx homeownership rate is now 48.9 percent—the highest level since 2008.
According to Zillow, this growth is “even more striking when considered in the context of the housing bust during the Great Recession, when Latinx households took a disproportionately large blow.” Less than 10 percent of all U.S. homes are in largely Latinx communities, but 19.4 percent of all homes foreclosed upon between 2007 and 2015 were in those neighborhoods. After gains in the 1990s and early 2000s, this contributed to the Latinx homeownership rate falling to 44.1 percent in 2015—the lowest since 1998.
“While Latinx households have made recent gains in ownership, longstanding inequities in intergenerational wealth and other systemic barriers continue to impede Latinx Americans from reaching parity with the U.S. population as a whole,” says Manny Garcia, population scientist at Zillow. “Latinx home buyers are more likely to face challenges during the process, with financing the purchase often reported as a primary concern. Even within the Latinx community, wealth inequality could help explain the varying homeownership rates of people of different origins.”
Despite the recent growth, the Latinx homeownership rate is still lagging more than 10 percentage points behind the rate for Asian, Native, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander households, and almost 25 percentage points behind non-Latinx white households.
The major contributor? Likely the disparity in household wealth, according to Zillow. The typical Latinx household earns about 75 percent of the typical white household as of 2018, but that typical white household held more than eight times the amount of overall wealth. What does this mean? Latinx households carry a far greater share of their wealth in their homes, according to Zillow, adding to the damage caused by the Great Recession.
Those newer to the U.S. are less likely to own a home, which could be why the homeownership rate among first-generation Latinx Americans (46 percent) is lower than among other generations (50 percent). Latinx Americans of Spanish descent have the highest homeownership rate at 63 percent, while households headed by someone of Dominican descent have the lowest at 29 percent.
Latinx buyers, overall, are more likely to be first-time home buyers—56 percent report buying their first home, compared to 43 percent of buyers overall. Because of this, they may come across mortgage-related challenges as Latinx buyers finance their purchase with a mortgage 80 percent of the time and are denied by mortgage lenders at a higher-than-average rate—65 percent say they are concerned about qualifying for a mortgage at all.
According to the report, to reach homeownership, Latinx buyers typically put other life milestones on hold because of the financial burden. More Latinx buyers than average report that the cost of housing delayed marriage plans (28 percent said so, versus 18 percent of all buyers), having children (29 percent versus 19 percent) and retiring (26 percent versus 19 percent).
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