Nearly 10 Percent of Latinos Lag on Mortgages

Suzanne Gamboa, AP, January 8, 2009

Nearly one in 10 Latino homeowners fell behind in mortgage payments last year, and about 3 percent said they had received a foreclosure notice, a Hispanic research group reported Thursday.

The Pew Hispanic Center’s survey of Hispanic adults found that 9 percent said they missed a mortgage payment or made a partial payment during the past year. Nearly half of respondents, 47 percent, indicated they were homeowners, a figure consistent with census data that shows 49.5 percent of Hispanics owned their homes in the third quarter of 2008.

Among Hispanic renters, 5 percent said they had lived in a home that went into foreclosure in the past year.

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The center’s survey of 1,540 Hispanic adults, conducted in English and Spanish last November, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Hispanics make up 15 percent of the U.S. population.

The strain felt by Hispanic homeowners seemed consistent with that of all U.S. homeowners. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported last month that a record one in 10 American homeowners with a mortgage was at least one month behind on payments or in foreclosure at the end of September 2008.

Lautaro Diaz, a housing expert for the National Council of La Raza, said it’s likely the numbers of Hispanics having trouble paying mortgages will increase given the fact that financial institutions marketed subprime mortgages or “exotic” loan products heavily to minorities, and often advertised in Spanish language media.

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[Editor’s Note: La Raza’s demands for money for Hispanic homeowners can be read here.]

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