Homeownership often plays an integral role in the American Dream. But a new report from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals found that Latinos are often denied the loans that would help them fulfill it.
The study found that 22 percent of Latino home mortgage applicants are turned down for loans, versus 11 percent of their white counterparts. And when they are awarded loans, they are more than twice as likely to pay a higher price to secure them. As a result, Hispanics account for just 7.3 percent of home purchase mortgages, despite the fact that they make up 17 percent of the population.
Experts say that lack of homeownership impacts more than just where a family lays its heads; Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reports that homeownership is associated with an annual net wealth increase of up to $10,000.
The researchers attribute the higher rate of mortgage refusals to the fact that many Latinos are excluded on the basis of their credit score, which doesn’t take into account research that proves immigrants—which make up a 35 percent of Latinos in America—tend to pay better than their scores predict. They also don’t consider cash transaction payment histories, which the report says are common unmong Latino families.
The organization’s recommendations for increasing Latino homeownership include:
- Expanding definitions of creditworthiness to include alternative credit scoring models.
- More frequently offering occupants the option to purchase rented homes before making them available to investors.
- Passing comprehensive immigration reform to allow Latino immigrants to more fully participate in the economy.
- Renewing affordable housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.