Latinos' home ownership rate has slowed since recession

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The affordability issue is especially relevant in Southern California, where buyers face low inventory, which is driving prices up.

University of Southern California public policy professor Dowell Myers says this makes it harder for immigrants and other first-time buyers to break into the market.

“The unemployment rates are higher, wage growth has been slower, and housing prices have not been falling commensurately,” Myers said. “And so I think it puts Latinos at a greater disadvantage now, after the recovery, than it did before and during the bubble.”

The 2014 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report says Latinos were outpacing the national average in home ownership gains before the recession. From 1994 to 2005 the national home ownership rate increased by 5 percentage points while Hispanics gained nearly seven percentage points over that same period of time.

Latinos were among those most preyed upon by lenders offering easy credit, a practice that helped lead to the foreclosure crisis. Myers said the demand for higher credit scores today especially affects those with a short credit history.

“Anybody new to the market has been slowed down,” he said. “That includes all the young people, all the newcomers with short credit histories, everybody. Finally the mortgage lenders are starting to loosen up a little, but it has been pretty bad the last three years.”