NORTH LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It is a challenging time for the real estate market here in Las Vegas. A lot of house hunters, but not a lot of homes.
Among those house hunters — a growing number of first-time Latino home buyers.
8 News Now took a look at the opportunities available for those looking to buy a home for the first time and one Latino family shared how they were able to get their keys.
“Challenging” is how some have labeled the housing market in Las Vegas. And although supply is limited, many first time homeowners are eager to transition from renters to real estate owners and a growing number of these first time buyers are– Latinos, whose homeowner rate has increased more thank any ethnic group in recent years.
“Even the kitchen, every time I walk in there, I’m so thankful because I know the effort and sacrifice that we did to make it happen,” said Caldera. “I think it’s a lot of misconceptions that it’s too expensive and you are not really aware of the types of programs and assistance out there.”
Alejandra Caldera cannot stop smiling after achieving what many Latinos say is the ultimate American dream — owning a home.
After years of renting, this Las Vegas family took a leap of faith and focused on home stability.
“We had a tough financial spot, and our credit was super bad,” Caldera said. “We had zero savings, so we knew – we are broke we can’t buy a home.”
Another major hurdle was her husband’s legal status. Caldera says he had all his documents but no credit history.
“It was harder. Our income as married was not counted with his status because it was just me and you have to have a social for the financial aspect or you didn’t qualify for certain programs,” Caldera said.
According to Lending Patterns, Nevada ranks 5th in the nation with states with the biggest share of mortgages made to Hispanic homeowners, many of who, faced challenges like not having enough for a down payment to high home prices.
Valley realtor, Alex Vazquez says there are programs to help first time homebuyers like the Nevada Housing Program, and many families like the Caldera Family are benefitting from.
“It varies case by case, but there are down payment assistance programs to help,” said Vazquez. “Other than that, there are programs that you can get in with as little as 3% so you are talking in a purchase price of $300,000 as little as $9,000 out of pocket.”
It is no secret; the Latino population is growing with an estimated $60 million living in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. About 40 percent of Hispanic homebuyers are under 34 years old.
Vazquez says the housing market is extremely attractive to buyers right now because of low interest rates.
“We definitely recommend buying because interest rates are at historic lows which make mortgages payments rather affordable,” Vazquez said. “In some cases, we are seeing its more affordable to purchase than to rent.”
He says the first step to buying a home is contacting a professional realtor — an easy step for this family.
“I’ve always had a picture of what I wanted in a home,” said Alejandra. “I wanted to have horses, I want to have animals and wake up and have my kids running around and not be limited to a box.”
According to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, more than 40 percent of Latinos tend to purchase fixer-upper homes,
That was the case for the Caldera family that closed in August on $280,000 home in North Las Vegas.
“It’s not just a look it’s a lifestyle,” Caldera said. “My husband is a Charro and he’s all about the country living.”
Three months later, the home was remodeled and even made some space for their horse “Spirit,” several goats, chickens and other pets.
“At first, I would say let’s pay the rent but then it’s ours so it’s now pay the mortgage,” Caldera said. “You are so used to renting that when it’s yours – you say oh my its mine but it’s a great feeling.”
According to data from Lending Patterns, the share of mortgages made to Hispanic homeowners has been on the rise for the past 8 years.
As for advice, the Caldera family learned that researching and asking plenty of questions was key.