Hispanics increasingly entering housing market – Journal Record

December 18, 2021 by No Comments

Realtor Gabriela Chavez poses for a photo at closing with first-time homebuyers Jasmine Estrada and Cristian Balderas.  (Courtesy photo/Gabriela Chavez)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Almost 12% of Oklahomans identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, making them the second-largest racial or ethnic group in the state.

One result is more Hispanics are becoming homeowners in Oklahoma and across the country, despite financial, language and trust barriers. Projections show half of all homebuyers nationally will be Hispanic in the next decade.

Latinos are the only demographic in the U.S. to increase their rate of homeownership for each of the past six years, according to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Oklahoma had the fifth-highest growth at 95.5% from 2009 to 2019, according to NAHREP.

Realtor Gabriela Chavez said the Hispanic housing market is booming in the Oklahoma City metro area, but buyers still have barriers to overcome.

“There are several Spanish-speaking Realtors in the metro area, but the Hispanic community remains underserved,” said Chavez, who is bilingual and serves as president of the Oklahoma City chapter of NAHREP. “Better education and communication are needed.”

Lack of trust can be a barrier. Many home sales in the Latino community are owner-to-owner because of mistrust of banks and other institutions, Chavez said.

“In the Oklahoma City metro, I’ve seen a lot of Hispanic people who are wary of going to a bank and getting a home loan,” she said.

That proved to be extremely costly for one man who came to Chavez with a foreclosure letter in hand. He had made $10,000 in payments to an owner who in turn wasn’t making the house payments as promised. Chavez said the would-be buyer lost the house and his money because he had entered the country illegally and was afraid to report the owner.

“Five years ago, it was hard to find a bank with bilingual staff and now what I’m seeing is amazing,” she said. “Banks and other institutions are really out to create programs to help Hispanics.”

Yahaira Velasco, a bilingual loan officer with AMC Mortgage, said many Hispanics are unaware they qualify for a home loan. That includes people who don’t have a Social Security number because of their immigration status but are paying taxes. They don’t know they can use the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number instead.

Velasco said a big part of her job is education. Many clients are first-generation homebuyers even though their parents have been in the U.S. for 30 years, she said. They help their relatives – parents, sibling, cousins – see …….

Source: https://journalrecord.com/2021/12/17/hispanics-increasingly-entering-housing-market/

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