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Hispanic homeownership grows fast in Nevada despite challenges

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AP
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For more than the last decade, Hispanic homeownership in Nevada has mirrored that of the nation: It’s growing fast.

The Urban Institute projects that by 2040, 70% of the net new homeowner households in the United States will be Hispanic. On top of that, in 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that almost half of adult Hispanics in Nevada own homes.

In Nevada, some of that is due to sheer numbers: Hispanics make up about 30% of the state’s population. For those under 18, they are 41% of the population.

At the same time, home values are skyrocketing.

So is there a connection between those high numbers and the massive increase in home values? Or are we about to see those ownership numbers reverse due to the high cost of buying a home here?

Nora Aguirre is a Las Vegas real estate agent and the director of the national board for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. 

She said it’s part of a dream to own a home. “Despite the barriers that we've faced, as you know, in our industry, especially for first-time homebuyers, that has really kept him going.”

A big part of that dream, she said, is multigenerational. 

“They give a lot of importance to homes with backyards, even though they'll probably even select a home that's a little bit older, just in order to kind of get a little bit of a yard for kids to play and family to come over and spend the weekend barbecuing and having games,” Aguirre said. 

But, out of 100 Latino or Hispanic clients that have come to her, only 20 were approved for a mortgage. Low credit scores are usually to blame.

Aguirre said many of her clients don’t use credit like other demographics and would rather buy cash. 

“What we're seeing is that they'll pull two or three people in a family to be able to purchase this home, usually relying on the person with the highest credit score to come in and be able to be the strong person in the purchase,” she said. “And usually that's the younger generation, because they're more apt to getting credit.”

She said it’s a bit of an upward battle as the demand is there, but education and empowerment is needed in all areas of homebuying. High interest rates and credit backgrounds can make homebuyers look like high-risk clients.

Ruben Rivera is also a real estate agent on the NAHREP board.

“Kind of going back to our culture. It's like, we figure out how to make ends meet,” he said. “So in regard to getting these loans, the investors seeing as, ‘Oh, they're high risk,’ but the client themselves, it's, if they lose their job one day, they're scrambling to find another job in next day. I think, after so many loans, so much time actually taking into consideration this clientele, they're starting to see that the loans aren't really defaulting, that they're actually making their payments, that it's not really a high-risk client.”

Nora Aguirre, real estate agent, Century 21, director of the national board, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals;  Ruben Rivera, real estate agent, Century 21, mortgage loan officer, Americana Home Loans, regional board member, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals

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Christopher Alvarez is a news producer and podcast audio editor at Nevada Public Radio for the State of Nevada program, and has been with them for over a year.