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Hispanic Women Becoming Powerful Housing Demographic

by James F. McClister

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For decades, white buyers have largely dictated the direction of the housing industry. That may soon change, though, as a recent survey from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals found more than 90 percent of Latin American and Hispanic women ages 25 to 60 believe buying a home is the best financial commitment they can make.

Since the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, equality has slowly become more of a reality across several housing tiers – though in some areas segregation is still alive and terrible. The push to desegregate and make financing and, ultimately, housing more widely and easily available to the underserved and disenfranchised continues to build even to this day – as seen in the recent Supreme Court decision to acknowledge disparate impact claims under FHA. This trend is particularly pronounced among the Hispanic community.

According to data from the Demand Institute, a non-advocacy, non-profit think tank jointly operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen, between now and 2020, roughly four out of every 10 households in the country will be headed by someone of Hispanic descent – more than any other single racial or ethnic group. And if NAHREP’s survey is to be believed, that head of household is likely to be a woman.

Nearly half of all Hispanic homeowners believe they will only live in their current homes for five years at most, which indicates they may drive a significant portion of real estate activity in the future. One of the unique findings of the survey is that 61 percent of Hispanic women foresaw themselves playing a “larger role than their partner in their next home purchase.”

Women Are Doing More

Researchers went on to ask more pointed questions in an attempt to understand exactly what “larger role” meant. The results were as follows:

  • Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they’d be more involved in researching homes to visit.
  • Fifty-eight percent said they’d have more responsibility in researching communities and neighborhoods.
  • When deciding which home to actually purchase, 54 percent said they’d be taking a more active role than their partner.
  • When it came to researching the finances, such as mortgage options, 43 percent said it would be their duty.
  • The role Hispanic women play in the home was shown to be matriarchal in nature, with 69 percent claiming responsibility for household purchase decisions over $100, and one-third saying they are in charge of all such decisions.

The Importance of Understanding Latinas

Through its partnership with Better Homes and Gardens, 2015 NAHREP National President Teresa Palacious expressed confidence in the association’s ability to focus on the role Hispanics and, particularly, the Latina demographic will play in the future of housing, and “help the industry better understand the nuances surrounding the modern Hispanic woman as a consumer and how she’s impacting her family’s lifestyle within the home.”

Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens, reaffirmed Palacious’ position in a statement accompanying the report, saying that “it’s vital to understand that Latina women in particular are a driving force behind decisions related not only to the home, but the actual home-buying transaction process.”

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