Dispatch from #HousingOurFuture: Not enough real estate agents are "culturally sensitive"


In the coming decades, the rate of homeownership among Hispanics and Asians will roughly double, and the housing industry is not ready, a panel of experts said Friday.

The panel, titled “Reigniting the First-Time Homebuyer Market,” took place at the Housing America’s Families Forum currently underway in Dallas at the George W. Bush Presidential Library. The event is hosted by the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families.

HousingWire, which has served as a media partner with the foundation since its inception, is in attendance at the event.

The panel discussed connecting with both of these minority communities in order to extend responsible homeownership.

The market for purchase mortgages to Hispanics and Asians will see significant growth well into 2060, according to data provided at the panel.

However, mortgage bankers are not equipped to appropriately deal with these communities, the panelists said.

“Only 3% to 4% of the mortgage banking industry is Hispanic,” said Gary Acosta of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. “The opportunity to have misunderstandings is great because people from their own community aren’t there to help.”

Acosta added more real estate agents could also learn to become more “culturally sensitive” and that NAHREP is working to expand the pool of Latinos in the mortgage space.

Jim Park, with the Asian Real Estate Association of America, also discussed the nuances of providing mortgages to his niche market.  For example, Park said Asians typically wish to avoid paying mortgage insurance as part of their “price sensitivity.”

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