Creating a Pathway to 4 Million New Hispanic Homeowners by 2030
with Laura Arce of UnidosUS
Latinos represent a growing percentage of the housing market, but many members of this community face barriers to homeownership.
Laura Arce, Senior Vice President of Economic Initiatives at UnidosUS, joins host Liliana Henao Holmes to discuss the state of Latino homeownership today, and a new initiative to provide Latino communities with resources to navigate the home-buying process.
September 01, 2023
Henao Holmes: Latinos are projected to account for up to 70% of all new homeowners between 2020 and 2040, according to the Urban Institute. This despite barriers to homeownership that exist for this population. Hello and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Liliana Henao Holmes. In addition to the competition and high-cost housing markets every new homeowner battles, Latinos are also likely to face obstacles such as income gaps, discrimination and language barriers. Joining me to discuss a new initiative to increase opportunities for Latino homebuyers is Laura Arce. She is the Senior Vice President of Economic Initiatives at UnidosUS. Laura, thank you for joining us.
Arce: Thank you. Great to talk with you today, Liliana.
Henao Holmes: Laura, UnidosUS supports the community through very different programs. Specifically to the issue of homeownership, what is the current state of the Latino community compared to other groups in the United States?
Arce: Well, Latinos right now have a much lower homeownership rate than for the average white household -- about 49% compared to 72%. And that directly correlates to the differences in wealth for Latino families compared to white families. Latinos in general have just one-fifth the wealth of a white household. However, looking forward, just demographically, our community is growing and we're going to be a growing part of the homeownership sector going forward.
Henao Holmes: That's great news. Now, going back to the beginning of the program, we mentioned that data from the Urban Institute is estimating that by 2040, Latinos will comprise 70% of new homeowners in America. So how does that percentage compare to the growth of the last decade or so?
Arce: Yeah. So, it's important to think back to recent history and specifically the foreclosure crisis during which many Latino families lost their house. But since that time, there has been a steady recovery in the number of Latino homeowners. Particularly in the last eight years, Latinos have been the only demographic group to see consistent annual growth in their homeownership rate. And since that time, between 2014 and 2022, Latinos have accounted for one quarter of the total growth of homeownership in this country.
Henao Holmes: So, Laura, despite that growth, there are barriers that the Latino community still faces to buy their own home. What are some of those?
Arce: Yeah. So, you know, the Latino family, we're not a monolith. Every family has different challenges. But in general, Latino households face two types of challenges. One are macro challenges. And so today, we're seeing a historic shortage of homes for sale across the country, particularly of entry level homes that are most affordable. We're also seeing inflation and relatively high interest rates in the past year. And for Latinos, that hits particularly hard because our community tends to be more likely to live in high-cost markets and to be employed in sectors that pay lower wages. In addition to those macro challenges, there's a lot that could be improved in how the market serves the Latino homeownership sector. So, for example, we could see improvements in language access through the entire home-buying process and increase in diversity and representation with lenders and other folks in the industry who are serving our families as well as better serving certain parts of our community. For example, Latinos tend to have larger household sizes and are more likely to live in multigenerational households. And there's a lot of improvements we can see both in terms of the types of homes that are being built, as well as the mortgage products that families can take out to address some of those unique characteristics.
Henao Holmes: Laura, UnidosUS just launched a new initiative precisely to promote the growth of Latino home ownership in the US. Tell us more about that.
Arce: Yeah, we're really excited about this new initiative. In June of 2023, we launched the HOME Initiative, which stands for Home Ownership Means Equity. Our goal with this initiative is to transform the economic trajectory of Latino families through homeownership. And specifically, we set a goal to help create 4 million new Latino homeowners by the end of the decade. And we're seeking to do this by implementing systemic change so that public policies better address the needs and opportunities of the Latino home buyer and that lenders and others in the industry are better serving our community.
Henao Holmes: Excellent. And if people want to learn more about the process of buying their own home -- you know it can be intimidating at times -- where can they go?
Arce: Yeah. So if you're starting your home-buying process, the best first step is to reach out to a nonprofit housing counselor. They're a source of unbiased information and advice. They're available across the country, free of charge, and many of them offer services in both English and Spanish. At UnidosUS, our affiliate network, a number of them offer free housing counseling and education. If you go to our website at unidosus.org, you'll find a list of our affiliates across the country where you can be connected to free services.
Henao Holmes: Laura Arce of UnidosUS, thank you so much for your time today and that great information.
Arce: Thank you, Liliana. Great to be here.
Henao Holmes: And thank you for watching. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I'm Liliana Henao Holmes.