If Hispanic Americans are Thriving, Then Why Are Their Homeownership Rates So Low?
Among the racial or ethnic groups within the United States, the Hispanic and Latino population is thriving. With a population total of 54 million in the United States, Hispanics and Latinos make up 17% of the population — and this number is expected to double in the near future.
Along with rapidly growing numbers, Hispanics and Latinos are the only racial or ethnic group to see a decrease in poverty rates.
Yet despite their economic flourishing and growth in the United States, Americans who are Latino or Hispanic have a home-ownership rate of only 45.4% as of 2014.
How can this be?
To begin with, buying a home is not an easy process. Before you even think about purchasing a home, 99% of realtors recommend that you conduct a home inspection.
From there, the next step is acquiring a home owner’s loan and making sure you will be able to pay off your home.
For Hispanics, the latter is very difficult to bring into fruition. In truth, the answers lie in cultural differences regarding spending habits.
According to RisMedia, Hispanics and Latinos are more likely to pay in cash. This, combined with a tendency to have larger households and pooled incomes, results in a kind of spending that differs from the American mainstream.
This leaves little room for Hispanics to have access to the loans necessary to achieve home ownership. Joe Nery, president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, tells RisMedia that because of these conditions, Hispanics make up 15% of the 26 million Americans that are “credit invisible,” along with African-Americans.
“Communities of color under the current [credit] scoring model aren’t being accurately captured,” Nery tells RisMedia. “You don’t have the opportunity to establish credit.”
Currently established credit models don’t accommodate for these invisible modes of payment, and it’s an issue that’s affecting both minority groups and America’s startling decrease in home ownership.
As of the beginning of 2015, the rate of national home ownership was at 63.8%. Percentages haven’t been lower since the late 1980s.
Currently, the large part of America’s credit model relies on FICO scores. FICO scores are established by a number of factors, but whether or not an individual paid off credit card expenses on time is one important factor.
With the biggest expense each month being a rent payment, there is little room in the current systems for landlords to properly report these payments as a means of credit accountability.
This out of date credit system is ultimately a shame, as it excludes a rather large sector of America’s spending population and prevents the real estate market from thriving once more.