Hispanic home ownership has been on a steady rise over the past 5 years. According to a 2015 report by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), there was a net increase of 245,000 in Hispanic homeownership last year, accounting for 69 percent of the total net growth in US homeownership. However, even though Latinos account for over half of new homeowners, they are denied loans twice as often as white applicants.
Patty Arvielo, president at New American Funding and Mexican-American born in L.A. County, California, has dedicated the past four years to serving this underserved market. Today, New American Funding has one of the largest sales force in the industry dedicated to tailoring services to this specific demographic.
“Many Latinos in the US lost a very large percentage of their wealth in the meltdown because most of Latinos’ wealth was wrapped up in their home,” said Arvielo. “So when all of them were losing their home, there went their wealth. But they have really been making headways in gaining that wealth back.”
Four years ago, Arvielo decided to go after this market by understanding it better than anyone else. “You really have to build a very diverse and inclusive company,” she said. “I made a concentrated effort in building a company where they can see themselves, and building a culture within our company that they resonated with.”
Arvielo spearheaded the Latino Focus Committee within her organization, which focuses on educating and training Latino practitioners that serve this market and Latino homeowners about the process of homeownership, so can get on a path to homeownership. Now, several organizations are interested in aligning with New American Funding and Arvielo to push this initiative forward. “It really is an educational tool and outreach effort to train real estate agents on the nuances and cultural differences there are in serving Latinos,” said Arvielo.
With Hispanics accounting for the largest percentage of first-time homebuyers, it is clear that market is “here to stay” and growing. “I think that every company that wants to be in business, needs to learn how to serve this marketplace,” she said.