Hispanic Family Facts: Limited English proficiency is a barrier to homeownership for U.S. Hispanics

Homeownership helps build families’ wealth and can promote financial stability. However, recent research from the Urban Institute finds that limited English proficiency (LEP)—limited or no ability to speak English—is a barrier to homeownership in the United States. Even after accounting for other factors that influence homeownership (e.g., race/ethnicity, income, having children), this study found that zip code areas with the highest concentrations of LEP residents had homeownership rates that were 5 percentage points lower than those with the median concentration of LEP residents.

This finding has important implications for Hispanics. In 2016, Spanish speakers made up nearly 60 percent of the 5.3 million LEP household heads in the United States. This report recommends practices that may help expand homeownership among Hispanics and other LEP populations, including: “preferred language” fields on mortgage applications, culturally responsive and Spanish-language materials, and employing more Spanish-speaking loan officers.

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