Hispanics reign as the fastest growing group of first-time homebuyers, forming over one million households from 2010 through 2012.
This figure, which comes from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, becomes even more significant when considering 693,000 new owner households were added to the market in 2012. Of those new owner households, Hispanics represented 51% of the buyers.
"Despite a difficult economic environment and a tight mortgage market, Latinos are making gains in all the ways that make them ready for homeownership," said Juan Martinez, the newly elected president of NAHREP.
The sudden surge is attributed to recent population growth within the Hispanic community. NAHREP said Hispanics also are achieving higher levels of education and income, accounting for half of total job growth in 2012. Furthermore, 40% of Hispanic households earn more than $50,000.
Additionally, Hispanic purchasing power exceeds $1 trillion and is expected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2015.
But before Hispanics can start celebrating, they face the challenge of inventory shortages and what NAHREP perceives as investor-favored regulations.
"Their biggest obstacle now coming into the market isn’t the credit crunch, it’s the lack of available housing to purchase," Martinez said.
Gerardo “Jerry” Ascencio, president and CEO of NAHREP, added, "Right now, the way it is panning out short term is you are seeing inflation and sometimes artificial inflation."
Ascencio explained that the money is going to Wall Street investors rather than staying in the communities themselves.
To combat the problem, Ascencio said, "We are walking to the Hill on Wednesday and asking our representatives to send a congressional letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Housing Administration and The Department of Housing and Urban Development urging them to make owner-occupancy a national priority."
If the plan pans out, Ascencio said he wants to see the playing field leveled out and power restored to neighborhoods and communities.