by Samantha Guzman

The Hispanic homeownership rate has dropped to its lowest level seen since 1999 primarily due to tight mortgage credit and higher financing costs, according to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). According to summary info from the 2014 State of Hispanic Homeownership report, the Latino homeownership rate dropped from 46.1 to 45.4 percent in 2014.

“The State of Hispanic Homeownership Report shows gains in employment, education, and income for Latinos, representing the huge influence Latinos have, not only in the housing market, but on the U.S. economy as a whole,” said Jason Madiedo, president of NAHREP in a press release. “Access to affordable mortgages for Latino homebuyers would help sustain a healthy housing market and benefit a general economic recovery.”

Hispanic homeownership rates have slowed over the past three years. In 2012, the number of homes owned by Latinos increased by 347,000. That number was much lower at 54,000 in 2014. Before the Great Recession, Hispanics were outpacing the national average in homeownership gains. From 1995 to 2004 the Hispanic homeownership rate grew 7 percent, higher than the national average of 5 percent.

From 2000 to 2014, Hispanics accounted for 50 percent of the net growth of overall household owners in the country. A 2014 study by the Urban Institute projects that Hispanics will account for 55.5 percent of new homeowners from 2010 to 2020. In 2014, the number of Latino households grew by 320,000, which made up 40 percent of the overall U.S. household growth. Tapping into this potential buyer pool may be the key to boosting the housing market back into full recovery.

NAHREP’s State of Hispanic Homeownership Report explores current and historical data of Latino population trends, educational achievements, labor force profile, and consumer attitudes in the U.S. This year’s report also includes survey results of 100 of the top Hispanic real estate agents in the country. The full report will be released on Monday, March 30, 2015 and will be available on NAHREP’s website.