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Homeownership growing among Latinos in the US but first-time buyers face challenges in Austin

Texas is one of the states where Latinos face challenges with affordability and housing inventory.

AUSTIN, Texas — The demand for homes in Austin is high but the supply is low.

Latino homeownership is growing across the nation but, in Austin, conditions are tough, especially for first-time buyers.

"With the housing market, how it is in Austin, I knew I had to act on it now," said Ingrid Miranda, a first-time homebuyer. 

Miranda is now one of nearly 9 million Hispanic homeowners in the U.S.

"I came from immigrants. So, you know, buying my first home in Austin didn't seem as realistic or reality to me," Miranda said.

According to new data released by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) as of 2021, 48.4% of Latinos in the U.S. are homeowners. However, Texas is one of the states where Latinos face challenges with affordability and housing inventory. 

"A couple of years ago, at this time of the year, we would be sitting on average about seven to eight thousand listings available. Right now, we're less than a third of that," said Rodney Bustamante, an Austin Realtor and former NAHREP board member.

Bustamante said it's a competitive market with homebuyers being outbid by people offering up to $100,000 more than the asking price.

"Hispanics try to buy with a mortgage program called an FHA loan, which is a Federal Housing Administration loan, and it's hard to compete when you have other buyers with basically more cash, offering more using a conventional loan or with more down payment. So it makes it more attractive to the sellers in their eyes, even though it's still a loan," Bustamante said.

Brittney Rodriguez, the CEO of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said all of this will drive communities of color out of the city.

"Unless we figure out an affordable housing alternative that welcomes folks who have been here back into the fold in many ways, we do run the risk of truly losing the character, the essence of what Austin truly is," Rodriguez said. 

These challenges pushed Miranda to move out of Austin and into Round Rock last year to buy her first home.

"The reality is that you might not be able to truly get an Austin ZIP code. You might have to look into the outskirts," Miranda said. 

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