Saturday, February 11, 2006

Immigrants Get Houses

The Post has an interesting article on how recent Hispanic immigrants are buying houses in
American Dreams, Realized:
"The Teoses and many other immigrants see their homes as the physical manifestation of the hope that they carried with them upon arrival in the United States. Home equity accounts for two-thirds of the average net worth of Hispanic households, studies show. According to 2000 Cenus data, 41.2 percent of Latin American immigrants own homes and other real estate, up from 38 percent in 1997.

In the Washington area, Latin immigrants have become active real estate investors with rental properties and well-thought-out strategies, said Jose Luis Semidey, president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals in Northern Virginia and of the Vienna real estate firm ERA Semidey & Associates. Last year, Semidey's company sold 900 homes; 90 percent of his clients were Latino.

'Our community has been changing, but people have not been realizing that. We are very entrepreneurial, with a lot of expendable income,' Semidey said. 'We are here. We are here to stay. We want to progress and to be successful.'"
The theme seems to be people taking advantage of opportunities. My impression is that homeowning is also furthered because families, relatives, and friends share houses, thus combining incomes and because immigrants can get good deals on home repairs (they know someone who does the work and can and will do a job on the side cheaply).

2 comments:

Tim Abbott said...

I am a professional conservationist, and it is my belief that those of us who want to preserve open space by having the same conversations with ourselves and not finding ways to engage and appeal to the Latin population are deluding ourselves and placing the success of our land protection efforts in jeopardy. Throughout most of the nation, and particularly in the Northeast where I live and work, mainstream conservation organizations and their supporters have no idea what the growing Latin population in our rural areas values about the land we share, or even whether a conservation ethic is or can be part of their dream of success in America. We are not even having these conversations with our Latin neighbors, but just as surely as the demographics of our communities are changing, so also is a growing percentage of the Latin community in our area becoming successful and investing in real estate, some of it open space. This is an opportunity that need not become a threat, but we have much to do to understand our Latin neighbors and find common purpose in conservation and land protection.

Bill Harshaw said...

My assumption, which may be wrong, is that upwardly mobile people don't have the time or money for "elite luxuries" (quotes intended ironically). It's the children of those who have made it who can afford such things. (This may be a version of John Adams saying that he studied politics so his son could study business and his grandchildren could focus on science and the arts.) On the other hand, James Stewart had an article in the New Yorker (not on line) on Alberto Vilar, a Cuban who made big money in the tech boom and gave even more to opera companies.

To the extent that environmentalism is an establishment cause, anyone who wants to become part of the establishment will support it.