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Interest in Homeownership Expected to ‘Skyrocket’ Among Hispanic Americans

Between now and 2040, researchers expect a "skyrocketing" interest in homeownership among Hispanic Americans. In fact, researchers predict that the Hispanic population is the only racial or ethnic group that will experience an increased homeownership rate during this future phase.

study by the Urban Institute takes a closer look at how the housing market can best support their needs.

By 2040, say research associates Lauri Goodman and Jun Zhu, 70% of new homeowners will be Hispanic Americans.

"To maintain a high level of homeownership, the mortgage and homebuilding ecosystem will need to evolve in a way that breaks down barriers and meets the needs of Hispanic homebuyers," the authors noted.

The authors project that, with no change in policies, the overall homeownership rate will drop from 65% to 62% between 2020 and 2040. Non-Hispanic White homeownership will dip 73% to 71%, the Black homeownership rate will drop 42% to 41%, and the homeownership rate for other households (mostly Asian households but includes other groups, such as Pacific Islander households), they expect, will drop from 58% to 57%.

And the rise among this demographic will be led by young Hispanic households.

"In 1990, just 7.3% of young households (headed by someone younger than 65) were Hispanic. By 2020, that had more than doubled to 16.4 percent. We project that this share will continue to increase in the next two decades, and that by 2040, more than 20 percent of young households will be Hispanic—triple the share in 1990."

That's likely because the Hispanic population is much younger than other racial groups, according to the institute.

This forecast is based on pre-pandemic data, so the researchers add that some of the barriers to homeownership among Hispanic Americans—including less income and wealth, lower credit scores, larger families, and more multigenerational families than White counterparts—have been exacerbated by fallout from COVID-19. The fact is that barriers remain, they say, so here are a few policy changes and re-focuses at a policymaking level that the Urban Institute researchers recommend:

  1. Expand the use of down payment assistance. "Hispanic homebuyers’ lower incomes, lower net worth, and lower parental wealth (and potential gifts or inheritance) makes affording a down payment challenging. But programs in every state offer assistance. There is also significant misinformation about the size of the down payment needed to buy a home. Accordingly, increasing the visibility of and opportunities for housing counseling and financial education about down payment assistance and the basic facts about down payments could support the growth in Hispanic homeownership."
  2. Expand access to mortgage credit. "To truly capture the creditworthiness of future Hispanic borrowers, the housing industry must rethink how it qualifies borrowers for mortgages, update current credit scoring models, take into account additional data such as on-time rental payments, reexamine how it takes a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio into account, and more fully count the income of those who are self-employed or have gig-economy income."
  3. Support the introduction of more affordable housing into the market. "Greater access to mortgages and down payments will do little to alleviate the barriers to homeownership if the industry fails to address the low supply of affordable housing.

"If federal, state, and local policymakers act now," concluded the researchers, "they can significantly reduce these barriers and ensure continued robust growth in Hispanic homeownership."

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media/Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning news, among others. Contact Christina at christina.hughesbabb@thefivestar.com.
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