It’s June! Can you believe that? We’re essentially halfway through 2022! I can’t even wrap my head around that. But, with any milestone, it’s important to do some reflections. A couple of highlights from the first half of this year: This March, we released our 11th edition of the State of Hispanic Homeownership Report where we not only featured artists, but we conducted the first-ever qualitative study, using our members to help us tell the story of Latino homeownership.
Many of you might have heard about the Biden Administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan by now. I thought I would break it down so that we all know what to be excited about and what to be cautiously optimistic about. According to the plan, if implemented, the housing shortage will be filled in 5 years. Given that we are short about 5.5 million homes and demand will only continue to increase, that is definitely ambitious.
Over the next two months, NAHREP will be attending city council meetings all over the country to hold our local city officials accountable and put pressure on cities to build more entry-level housing for homeownership. The housing gap has reached crisis levels. We can no longer wait. Here’s the deal: no one is asking for more homes for first-time homebuyers. There are folks who are speaking up about affordable housing, which usually means rentals. While more rental housing is important, we can’t forget homes for homeownership!
For years, all conversations around increasing minority homeownership have been focused on access to credit. How do we secure enough lending programs out there to ensure that first-time homebuyers can get adequate and affordable financing to purchase their homes? This is why the most important conversations around minority homeownership have historically happened within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (FHA), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA, who regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
This week the NAHREP familia took Congress by storm, meeting with a total of 53 U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators, 20 of which are member meetings. That means an actual Member of Congress joined almost half of our meetings! This is probably the most member meetings we’ve had since I joined NAHREP. This is a testament, I believe, to the work we’ve been doing at the National Advocacy Committee to increase our footprint and relationships in Congress. Your voices matter. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, we can complain all day long or we can use our voices and experiences to put pressure on the individuals who can actually do something about the problem.
Let’s talk about institutional investors. I’ve heard from many of you that this is increasingly becoming a problem in your markets. Investors are sweeping up the little housing stock there is for first-time homebuyers. In fact, in the third quarter of 2021, investors bought up a record number of properties nationwide: a total of 90,215 units worth $63.6 billion, the vast majority of which (74.4 percent) were single-family homes. This trend was highly pronounced in counties with high Latino populations.
NAHREP is squarely focused on bridging the wealth gap, and we know homeownership is one of the most critical strategies for building generational wealth. According to the State of Hispanic Wealth Report, Latino homeowners have 28 times the wealth as Latino renters, with Latino homeowners having a median household wealth of over $170,000 versus over $6,000 for Latino renters. However, we also want to make sure that Latinos are reaping the same rewards from homeownership as other groups on our road toward wealth creation. This is why the issue of appraisal bias is so important. How much a home is appraised for determines how much equity an individual can derive from owning a home.
NAHREP is the largest Latino business organization in the country, with a network of over 40,000 real estate professionals and 100 local chapters, made up of people who come together to grow professionally. What makes NAHREP so special, however, is that we are a mission-driven organization. The passion for advancing sustainable Hispanic homeownership that reverberates throughout our membership gives a special meaning and purpose to our work. Selling homes to Latino families isn’t just about making money, it’s about changing lives and closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap. These stories and data are at the core of our mission. And that is our State of Hispanic Homeownership Report.
Latinos are twice as likely to purchase a home using Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans compared to non-Hispanic White households. However, Latino households using FHA loans faced the steepest hurdles in getting their offers accepted last year. If you read the 2021 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, you know that Latinos were 81 percent more likely to get denied for conventional home purchase loans than non-Latinos, so for many first-time homebuyers, FHA loans were the only option.
As we all get ready for the 2022 National Convention and Housing Policy Summit in Washington D.C. next week, I thought I would interview one of our National Board of Directors and advisor to the National Advocacy Committee, Neily Soto, to talk about her journey in becoming active in the policy discussions of her local community in Massachusetts. Neily is a successful businesswoman who understands the power of getting involved and speaking up, particularly around housing inventory.