Housing Watch: Increasing homeownership for Hispanic families in Central California

In Fresno County, 67% of white families own their homes, compared to 44% of Hispanic families and just 27% of Black families.

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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Hispanics make up the largest ethnic group in each Central Valley county, but their large numbers don't translate into high homeownership rates.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Homeownership appears to be moving farther out of reach for many families.

In Fresno County, 67% of white families own their homes, compared to 44% of Hispanic families and just 27% of Black families.

"I'm very hopeful that the more education we put out there, the more Hispanic homeownership we're gonna see go up," says Aldiva Rubalcava, the president of the Fresno chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

Aldiva says too many people rely on the advice of friends and family instead of professionals.

"Really sit down with a lender, sit down with a realtor and see what's possible because someone's 'no' could be someone else's 'yes.'"

Traditionally, people rent a place to save money for a down payment on a home, but that's become more difficult as rent prices have spiked alongside home prices.

"We do know a lot of folks behind on rent or living paycheck to paycheck just to have a roof over their head.," says Karla Martinez with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability Policy Advocate.

NAHREP hosts information sessions called "Llaves de Tu Casa," which translates into, "keys to your house."

"We educate on the Cal FHA , the WISH program, which is a grant program that some people qualify for," Rubalcava said.

Karla Martinez thinks the city of Fresno can take on a bigger role beyond rental assistance.

"The City of Fresno can implement their own homeowner assistance program to help with these down payments and closing costs so that people can fulfill that dream," she said.

Rubalcava runs Recovery Credit Repair, so she counsels many people who want to change their spending habits so they can save enough money to buy a home.

"Number one thing I see is lot of over-spending on credit cards," she said. "I see people maxing out their credit cards."