MortgageReal Estate

Diverse Millennial population could change housing as we know it

Growing population labeled only as "other"

The homeownership rate for the second quarter of 2017 increased Thursday, and the Census Bureau report defined the homeownership rates for whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asian, Native, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander.

Aside from the increase in white homeownership rate by 0.4 percentage points to 72.2% in the second quarter, all other races saw a decrease in their homeownership rate – except, that is, the population labeled as “other.”

Other. That includes all races that don’t have a large enough population in the U.S. to include as a separate group, and those who don’t fit into any one race. Multiracial Americans are growing at a rate three times that of the total U.S. population.

A study from the Pew Research Center in 2014 found that Millennials are the most diverse generation in U.S. history.

In 2013, about 9 million Americans chose two or more categories when the U.S. Census Bureau asked about their race, and the share of multiracial babies increased from 1% in 1970 to 10% in 2013 – a growth that Pew expects to continue increasing.

This rising trend could change the way ethnic groups fit into housing as the new generation of biracial families prepares to enter the housing market. Certainly, this generation will not fit the traditional molds made by the generations before them.

Many organizations such as the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals produce studies or even hold conferences on how to lend to the Hispanic population.

But what happens when families are multicultural or multiracial? Which cultural stereotypes will they follow? Odds are, they won’t fit into any one box, and will meet somewhere in the middle.

While the industry focuses on the differences between races when it comes to their financial decisions and housing preferences, there has been little mention of the growing population that doesn’t fit into a category.

The implications for the housing market could be huge. For example, true to the stronger desire among Hispanics to own a home, my Mexican husband insists on saving up to buy a home. But while his culture sees debt as a negative, I was able to show him the benefits of building credit and applying for a 30-year mortgage.

The combination of our two perspectives enabled us to bring together the best of both cultures, and in the end, the housing market benefited overall. As Americans continue to become more diverse, it could continue to bring cultures together, bring out the best in all cultures, and the economy as a whole could benefit. The housing market could see its competition rise even more.

Or, it might not. Perhaps it will do something else entirely. But perhaps such a rapidly growing phenomenon should be measured as something a little more than “other.”

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