ORLANDO, Fla. – The Asian American population is booming in Central Florida with many families moving to plant roots for their businesses and homes. The Asian Real Estate Association of America Greater Orlando is working with community partners to help them achieve their dreams.
Paul Imura is a member of AREAA Greater Orlando. He said the mission is simple.
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“It’s about homeownership,” Imura said.
But how AREAA Greater Orlando accomplishes that is not as simple.
“Homeownership rates for Asians are running below the national average,” he said.
Imura is a board director with the local chapter of AREAA. The national nonprofit organization was founded nearly 20 years ago with the goal of improving the lives of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community through homeownership.
“It’s a place of security, a place of shelter, a place to raise your family,” Imura said.
Imura said the AAPI community in Central Florida is booming.
According to the 2020 Census, the largest concentration of the Asian American population is in Orange County with more than 78,000 people. That is a 47% increase from the 2010 Census.
“It’s a growing population with a voice in trying to get into the American dream of homeownership,” Imura said.
Imura said many AAPI families are immigrating to Central Florida, adding they choose to settle here for the weather and cost of living.
But he said they’re facing challenges when trying to enter the housing market.
“So they come here with limited English proficiency, they aren’t familiar with the process to own a home and not to mention the normal craziness we’ve had in the market for the past two years,” he said.
The AREAA Greater Orlando chapter is trying to make the process easier. Its 70 members, including realtors, and mortgage and title companies, are focused on education, training and raising awareness.
The organization works with community partners, like Susan West of Fidelity National Title of Florida Inc., to help members of the AAPI community through the real estate process.
“Help with their mission but also help with our mission to help people not only with residential real estate for homeownership, but also commercially and also in entrepreneurship with their businesses,” West said. “The culture really lends to hard work. The culture lends to entrepreneurship and then how do we take that and extrapolate that out to homeownership as well.”
Imura said these partnerships are getting results.
“Homeownership leads to a lifelong building of wealth,” he said.