Housing Affordability A Top Issue for Latino Voters

Cost of living and housing are the top financial hardships Latinos want policy makers to address 

WASHINGTON, DC— As a part of its Latino Vote Initiative, UnidosUS today hosted the third installment of the Latino Vote Briefing Series with a deep dive on Latino voters and housing. Over the next 20 years, Latinos will comprise 70% of America’s net new homeowners and are essential to the future of our nation’s housing market and economy. The success of Latino homeowners and the American housing market have a mutual dependence and shared trajectory.  

Homeownership is a priority for the Hispanic community, but public policies, business practices, and current housing market conditions create barriers that deny Latinos full access to the American financial system and prevent them from fulfilling their dreams of homeownership. Of the top issues Hispanic voters wanted to see elected officials address, four of the top five were economic/pocketbook issues, specifically inflation and the rising cost of living, wages, healthcare costs, and housing affordability—which rose to the top five as a stand-alone for the first time. 

  • For a detailed memo on Latino voters and housing, see here 
  • For a slide presentation of our findings, see here.   
  • For a video recording of our virtual briefing, see here. 

Laura Arce, Senior Vice President, UnidosUS Economic Initiatives said, “Housing is the biggest monthly expense for most families.  Latino voters feel the effect of the housing market’s affordability and supply challenges.  They are looking to policymakers for real solutions to bring homeownership within reach for more families.” 

Samuel Kenney, Senior Policy Analyst, UnidosUS Economic Initiatives said, “In today’s housing market, young Latino families face a triple threat: skyrocketing prices, a shrinking pool of affordable homes, and barriers to securing mortgages. This is a clear call to action. Policymakers must double down on policies that increase housing supply and ensure fair access to affordable homes. It’s time for decisive moves to secure the future of our communities by expanding access to housing and homeownership.” 

Gary Segura, Ph.D., President and co-founder of BSP Research said, “Housing is the greatest expense and biggest investment in most families’ lives and this is no different for Latino Americans. The impact of high interest rates and rapidly rising rents—particularly after COVID controls expire, have caused housing to take an even bigger bite from the budgets of Latino families. Though there has been significant improvements in Latino educational attainment and social mobility, for many, owning a home remains painfully out of reach.” 

Clarissa Martínez De Castro, Vice President, UnidosUS Latino Vote Initiative said “Given the saliency of this issue, candidates that reach out and capture the attention of Latino voters with their solutions to address housing affordability can make important inroads. This is particularly true as many Latinos are forming their opinions about parties and candidates, with 1 in 5 Latinos expected to vote in 2024 doing so for the first time in a presidential election.” 

Key Points: 

Housing concerns are the single biggest burden/financial hardship that Latinos believe they are facing. These concerns, echoed across all Latino demographic groups, emphasize the impact that housing costs are having on the community: 

  • 34% of women and 38% of men cite housing costs as their biggest financial hardship, as well as 39% of 18–29-year-olds, 38% of 30–49-year-olds, and 31% of Latinos 50+.    
  • This is also a sentiment that is prevalent regardless of political party. 39% of Democrats, 29% of Republicans, and 40% of Independents/Other party.   
  • 37% of Latinos making under $39k, 41% of Latinos making between $40k and $79k, and 32% of Latinos making over $80k. 

Latino economic concerns are closely tied to housing and living expenses. Many Latinos point to the increased cost of buying or renting a place to live (76%) and everyday food and basic expenses (82%) as the costs that they have seen rise over the last year. 

Latinos want to become homeowners but face strong economic headwinds.   65% of Latino renters and 59% of Latinos under 40 say that they want to buy a home but have not done so. Latinos cite home prices being too high and a lack of savings as the two biggest barriers to homeownership.   

If policymakers do not address the interconnected issues of housing affordability and inventory challenges, Latinos are willing to move to more affordable markets.  The desire for homeownership is strong in the Latino community; despite economic headwinds Latinos are the only demographic that have seen consecutive growth in homeownership over the past 9 years.  But 2 in 3 say they may have to move if housing affordability does not improve. 

Latinos feel pessimistic about the direction of the country and don’t feel that either party is doing well at addressing their concerns – but Democrats retain a slight advantage. 56% of Latinos say that they believe the country is on the wrong track, a number that increases to 60% among those 18-29. 

The Latino Vote Briefing Series, a program of UnidosUS’s Latino Vote Initiative, is designed to provide accurate information about Hispanic voters and their priorities, tackle mistaken assumptions about this electorate and fuel effective engagement and response to their priorities. The series of virtual briefings will feature presentations and Q&A sessions with issue and election trends experts on critical topics shaping Latino voter perspectives and sentiment this election year.