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Where Are the Latino Home Owners?

In the United States, rates of homeownership among Latino families lag far behind those of white families. A recent article from the Urban Institute digs into the causes and effects of this issue.
October 15, 2016, 1pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Stephen Plaster

Even as the Latino population of the United States grows, their home ownership lags persistently behind whites. In an article on the Urban Institute's website Jim Parrott writes, "According to the American Community Survey, only 45 percent of Hispanic households owned their homes in 2013 compared with 71 percent of whites." Parrot argues that the reasons for this disparity are multiple. One reason is the heads of Latino families are on average younger than the heads of white families and younger people generally have lower credit scores than their older peers. It's difficult to know if there are racial disparities in credit scores because as Parrot explains, "Publicly available numbers for credit scores by ethnicity are difficult to come by, we do know that Hispanic borrowers on average have lower credit scores than do white borrowers"

Still, Parrot argues, credit represents only part of the problem, in his view the main problem is the availability of "good jobs." "The answer is, instead, to increase the number of families who are in the financial position to be homeowners and to ensure that the market effectively serves all who are." A more inclusive economy would go a long way towards alleviating this problem.

Regardless of the cause, the effect of this disparity could be disastrous. "We need to recognize that the face of the nation is changing, and our housing market will inevitably change with it." If Hispanics are left out of home ownership, the housing market could contract significantly. Making the country that much more unequal.

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Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 in Urban Institute
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