Latino Californians struggle with homeownership, study reveals

The results of a California Building Industry Association and California Homebuilding Foundation study aren’t pretty.
By By Jennifer Powell, Staff Writer | January 31, 2008

Latino Californians are struggling with homeownership, a survey by the California Building Industry Association and the California Homebuilding Foundation revealed. The survey polled 957 Latino Californians on their attitudes and priorities and found that a majority of the non-home owning Latinos want to own a home for their families.

According to the survey, nearly all non-homeowners would like to own a home, but the main reasons they do not are that they cannot afford a home in the community where they'd like to live and they are waiting for housing to become more affordable.

The survey also found that "more than 70 percent of [Latino] renters believe local government is not doing enough to promote homeownership and nearly 50 percent believe that housing should be the top priority for local government."

Housing affordability and availability is slim for California, which will grow by over 14 million people by 2030. CBIA reports that in order for California to meet the demands, it will need to produce 4 million homes. Nearly 80 percent of California's population will be Latino. Owning a home is a big issue in the Latino community, but they feel like they cannot afford to do so. According to the survey, they believe that owning a home provides a better environment to raise their children and build wealth. In other words, it is the American Dream.

According to the CBIA, builders in California should prepare for a demand of houses they may not be able to meet. CityView, a real estate investment company, and CBIA have joined efforts to raise awareness about this issue to elected officials and policy-makers and to find solutions for more affordable housing so that the Latino community and all residents can have the dream of owning a home.

"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," says Henry Cisneros of CityView and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. "They 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 are a key part of the solution to respond to this market demand. It makes sense for home builders to care about the Latino market if they want their business to grow."