Hispanic-Homeowner Angst

When the rate of homeownership was rising, robust increases among Hispanic Americans were among the factors pushing it upwards. Now, with housing values declining and the broader economy in turmoil, many Hispanic homeowners feel in peril of becoming former homeowners.

A Pew Hispanic Center report issued this month (based on November polling), indicates how widespread this fear has become. Asked how much they worry that their home could end up in foreclosure in the next year, 25 percent of Hispanic homeowners said “a lot” and 12 percent “some.” Thirteen percent said “not much” and 50 percent “not at all.” Nine percent said they’d “missed a mortgage payment or were unable to make a full payment” at some point in the past year. Foreign-born Hispanic homeowners were more likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to say they worry a lot about ending up in foreclosure in the next year (39 percent vs. 15 percent).

The report also examined the incidence of “informal loans” among Hispanic Americans, “often an important alternative source of funds when individuals are unable to obtain loans through traditional credit markets.” Twenty-eight percent said they’d made a loan to a family member or friend due to the economic downturn; 17 percent said they had received a loan from such a source.