Recently, The University of North Carolina published a study called, “The State of Latino Housing.” The university hoped that this study would “serve as a resource and a challenge to help better serve this market and ultimately help more families have access to safe and affordable housing.” This is a 37-page report that I recommend you read, especially if you are in the state of North Carolina.
The university has focus groups and some of the comments on the report come directly from those members. Reading the report, I noticed that there were many points raised that I have also heard across the country. For example, there is a large share of Latino households that are paying more than 30% of their income on housing cost, making it difficult to save money for a down payment.
The study states the lack of knowledge of where to find information as the major obstacle for homeownership; The homebuyers don’t know how to identify the best place to access information about the process, and because of this, many of them have not begun the process of buying a home.
These homebuyers found the mortgage application process too difficult with all the paperwork. Many of them did not know what was included in their credit history and were confused about how the monitoring and maintenance of credit works in the United States.
Other homebuyers question the competency of real estate agents, the accuracy of the information they provided them in the home buying process, and the cost of their services. Many felt that the real estate agents did not have the buyer’s best interest as his or her first priority, and some suggested that real estate agents had engaged in the discriminatory process of racial steering (directing the buyers away from predominantly non-Latino, white neighborhoods, and toward racially mixed or predominantly Latino neighborhoods).
Another obstacle was a language and cultural barrier; who could the homebuyers trust to assist them in understanding the paperwork, as well as the myriad of steps, involved in the home-buying process (especially for the non-English speakers).