DURHAM N.C. (WNCN) – The Hispanic population in North Carolina is growing almost 10 times faster than the national average.
Along with that growth comes more Hispanic homebuyers that are helping fuel a competitive housing market
Otto Cedeno, president and CEO of Movil Realty, said his team of bilingual realtors has nearly doubled business as more people move into central North Carolina.
“They’re moving from different parts of the United States, New York, California, Florida,” Cedeno said. “It’s been double the size every year in the Latino market in this area and the beauty about it is it’s a very young generation of Latinos.”
U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the Durham and Chapel Hill areas are some of the fastest-growing Hispanic-homebuyer markets in the country.
Young Hispanic homebuyers are driving those sales.
The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals said nearly a third of Latinos are in prime homebuying years between 25 to 44.
Like George Roa who moved to North Carolina from New York.
“I’ve been a serial renter in my whole life,” Roa said. “I’m in the process of purchasing my first home that isn’t an investment property, that something I can move into, do a little bit of work and stay in there.”
But it’s not easy, he said tight housing supply and strong competition are still barriers for first-time buyers like himself.
“Sometimes the minute the house goes on the market, it’s off, so sometimes you don’t even have a chance to go see it,” Roa said.
Over the next 20 years, the Urban Institute projects that 70 percent of new homeowners will be Hispanic.
Elvira Cortez has been in the U.S. for 18 years, but she recently moved to the Raleigh area, pulled by a strong job market and place to raise a family.
“We came here looking for a dream,” Cortez said. “Better opportunities for a job, better opportunities for education and a safety place more than anything.”
She worked with realtors Maya Galletta and Yvette Norona who both say they expect an influx of second-generation immigrants and their families to relocate to central North Carolina.
“A lot of these people immigrated into the country 15 years ago, 20 years ago, they now have children that within the next 3 to 5 years I’m going to be ready to buy as well. And they will be prepared to buy,” Galletta said.
“We’re very family oriented, so when you look at where do you want to live, you always look at the best places to raise a family and I think this area has become known for that,” Norona said.
For the buyers and realtors relocating a new generation of Hispanic homeowners, it’s more than just finding a house, but ushering in a young, diverse and lasting community.
“We feel like we are helping this community to ownership,” Cedeno said.
“Part of our mission is to help people establish that American dream,” Galletta said.