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Can Hispanics Bridge the Homeownership Gap?

Hispanics are a historically underrepresented market when it comes to homeownership, according to a recent report released by Freddie Mac. According to their figures, only 45 percent of Hispanics are homeowners, which is 20 percent lower than non-Hispanic whites.  This gap is getting smaller—in 1994, it was nearly 29 percent, compared to 26 percent in 2015, but it begs the question, will the gap continue to close over time?

So who makes up the Hispanic population, and where do they come from? According to Freddie Mac’s metrics, Hispanics hail from Spanish speaking countries and can either be first, second, or third generation immigrants. Over 35 million Hispanics trace their origin back to Mexico, while a little over 5 million trace it to Puerto Rico. Less than 2 million Hispanics trace their origin to Cuba, and a little under 15 million people identify with other countries in Central and South America.

In an attempt to trace the homeownership gap between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, the Enterprise compared median age, percentage married, percentage of those that hold a Bachelor’s degree. Hispanics median age is 33, while non-Hispanic white’s median age is 43, which according to the Enterprise is the most important factor that influences homeownership rates. Marriage rates are nearly equal, with Hispanics being married 51 percent of the time and non-Hispanics being married 53 percent of the time. Only 14 percent of Hispanics hold a Bachelor’s degree compared to 31 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

Freddie Mac’s findings? The data suggests “that almost 90 percent of the White/Mexican-origin Hispanic homeownership gap can be attributed to age, immigration attributes, income, and the like. If White/Mexican-origin Hispanic differences in those characteristics narrow over time—if, for example, the difference in the average age of Whites and Hispanics of Mexican origin disappears—the gap in homeownership also is likely to narrow. “

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