The Case to Accommodate the Latino Market

Latinos value homeownership, and their population is only going up. Have you positioned your company to use this opportunity?
By Henry Cisneros, CityView | August 24, 2008

The current housing market has prompted U.S. home builders across the nation to look to the rapidly growing Latino population as an expansion to their traditional home buyer market.

The growth of the Latino market will increase business for those home builders poised to respond to the demand. More than 2 million Latino families will enter the housing market by 2010. The growth and size of this population will drive the new home market for years to come. Beyond affordability, the demands from the Latino housing market requires all types of new housing: single-family and multifamily; rental and purchased homes; urban and suburban; workforce and upscale. The Latino population in the United States is growing rapidly via both immigration and the birth of new family members.

Home builders must also consider that this new home construction is no longer confined to one area of the country. Latino families are settling in large numbers within established Latino communities in coastal cities and border regions, the north and the south, as well as in interior cities and rural areas, which are experiencing relatively recent Latino expansion. Are you prepared to respond to the dynamic Latino market?

The Fastest Growing Minority Segment

Consider the size of the Latino market. Latinos are the fastest growing segment of America's population and accounted for 40 percent of the total U.S. population increase from 1990 to 2000. Recent U.S. Census Bureau updates conclude that Latinos are now the largest minority group in the U.S., and every projection indicates that the momentum of that population growth will continue.

Census Bureau projections from 2000 to 2050 make clear that the fastest growing segment of the nation's population across that period is expected to be the Latino population. During a time when the white non-Hispanic population will grow by 18 million people, the African-American population by 25 million, and the Asian population by 27 million, the Latino population in America will grow by 63 million.

We can look to California to predict what the rest of the country will experience if home builders do not act now and commit to meeting the needs of the Latino market. California will soon face a severe housing crisis. According to the California Department of Finance, California is expected to grow by more than 14 million people by 2030. Of those 14 million people, nearly 80 percent, or 11.4 million, are expected to be Latino. The California Building Industry Association estimates that 4 million new homes will be needed to accommodate California's growing Latino population. California's housing demand should be a lesson for the rest of the nation. Now is the time for home builders to prepare to respond to the demands of the Latino market.

An Opportunity to Grow into New Markets

New arrivals will most commonly enter through states like California, Texas and Florida; however, from there families migrate north, south, east and west. Latino populations are flourishing beyond the traditional southwest into places such as Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Boston; and Little Rock, Ark. These emerging markets are also experiencing a greater demand for housing. As a home builder, responding to the needs of the Latino home buyer can grow your business into these new areas.

Home builders must understand that reaching the Latino market is much more than producing Spanish-language marketing materials or hiring Spanish-speaking sales representatives. Consider developing strategies that offer solutions to support the unique homeownership challenges Latinos face. Neighborhoods and home designs, which embrace the strong family values within the Latino population, will make those communities more attractive.

Latinos are hardworking families who see homeownership as the path to the middle class to live-out out their American dream. Latino homeownership is vital for strong communities and vibrant cities. Home builders, you are a key part of the solution to respond to this market demand. It makes sense to care about the Latino market if you want your business to grow.

Author Information
Henry Cisneros is the chairman of CityView, a real-estate investment firm and developer that specializes in workforce housing. He served as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was also a four-term mayor of San Antonio.


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