Immigrant homeownership rates in Orlando among nation’s highest

Lending Tree study finds foreign-born homeowners spend too much of monthly income on their home

A recent study from Lending Tree found Orlando has some of the highest immigrant homeownership rates in the nation.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A recent study from Lending Tree found Orlando has some of the highest immigrant homeownership rates in the nation.

Homeownership is part of the American dream.

“What better than to have your roots and your legacies for generations to come,” Susan West, the president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals North Orlando chapter said.

The non-profit is made up of 100 real estate professionals from realtors to lending and title companies. They all work with the goal of increasing sustainable Hispanic homeownership in Central Florida.

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“We want to assist with them buying a home, buying the right home, being qualified financially to do so and then keeping the home,” West said.

That is a growing trend in Central Florida, according to a recent study from Lending Tree.

Jacob Channel, a senior economist with Lending Tree, said the study found Orlando ranks in the top 15 in the nation of cities with the highest share of homes owned and occupied by people born outside of the United States.

“Florida as a whole is and has been for quite some time a very, very popular area for people born outside of the United States,” Channel said.

Channel analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2020 American Community Survey. He found about 20% of the total Orlando population is foreign-born. Of that, he said nearly 60% live in owner-occupied housing units compared to 63% of people born in the U.S.

“So right there you can see a little bit of a discrepancy start to emerge where if you’re born in the United States you’re more likely to live in a home that you own whereas if you’re born outside you’re a little bit less likely,” Channel said.

Channel adds foreign-born homeowners shouldn’t be blamed for the rise in home prices.

“The reality is the majority of the activity in the housing market is being conducted by people who live in the area, who are born in the area, and ultimately as a result they’re probably going to have a little bit more influence over how the overall housing market is doing,” he said.

The study also found immigrant homeowners are more likely to be housing cost-burdened, which means they spend 30% or more of their monthly income on housing costs.

Channel adds foreign-born homebuyers can face different challenges when entering the housing market, including language barriers and not understanding America’s financial and lending systems.

West said as more Hispanic families become mortgage ready, the nonprofit is there to help them.

“Our job is to get out in the communities and say here you are mortgage ready. Here we are as real estate professionals to show you the homes you can qualify for and to put you in the communities where you can increase your legacy, create roots and really take advantage of the American dream,” West said.

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