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The Arrival of the Hispanic Homebuyer

by Chicago Agent

Hispanic households comprised more than 50 percent of new-home purchases in the third quarter.

Hispanic households made up more than half 0f the U.S.’ new household units in the third quarter, a strong indicator that a powerful group of buyers has emerged in the wake of the housing downturn.

According to Census Bureau data cited by HousingWire, 53 percent of the third quarter’s 545,000 new household units were Hispanic households, with the other 47 percent being Caucasian or other minority households.

For some time, Hispanics have been spotlighted as the next big consumer block, and the most recent data all but confirms those projections. Back in June, a National Association of Realtors conference in San Antonio estimated that 40 percent of all first-time homebuyers in the U.S. would be Hispanic, and shortly after that, Chicago Agent published an exclusive blog from public relations expert Andrew Hayes on the exploding potential of the Hispanic consumer.
Alejandro Becerra, a former senior housing fellow at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, told HousingWire that Hispanic professionals and activists should be credited for the recent breakthroughs in Hispanic home buying.

“We have to give due cause to Hispanic real estate professionals, to the many nonprofit groups out the that are trying to put into place the foreclosure prevention programs to keep people in their homes, to help new homebuyers,” Becerra said. “All this is beginning to bear fruit in reaching out to these households.”

Lower home prices, Becerra said, also played a big part in the data. While Hispanic households are capitalizing on the lower end of the housing market, where prices are at their most affordable level in decades, middle and even upper income households are bogged down by those same declining values, and many owe more on their homes than they are worth.

As a result, more Hispanics are purchasing homes, and according to data from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), Hispanic purchasing power has more than doubled in the last 10 years from $4,568 to $10,008.

Additionally, Fannie Mae’s 2010 third-quarter housing survey found many more Hispanics expressing confidence in their financial situation. Sixty-one percent said they expected their finances to improve in 2011, compared to just 41 percent of all Americans.

Carmen Mercado, the president of NAHREP, said Hispanics newfound purchasing power is not a fluke, but a permanent trend in housing.

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

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