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Loretta S.

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  • Homeownership

    by Representative Loretta Sanchez

    Posted on 2015-12-08

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    SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight an issue that is incredibly important. It is probably the number one issue going on in my district today. And that is the whole issue of housing: housing, and the opportunity to own your own home, to provide a safe haven for your family, to build wealth.

    You see, owning your own home for almost everybody in our country is the first rung of the ladder of wealth creation. Yet today, that dream--and it is a dream for many of our citizens, particularly those in the Latino and minority communities--is just that, a dream. Latinos, like all Americans, are committed to building a better and stronger future for their families and for their communities. It starts by becoming a homeowner, to own a piece of America, to have a real stake in America.

    That is one of the reasons homeownership is so important. It is important because it creates wealth--as I said, the first rung on the ladder for people to have an investment. It creates social stability. It creates a haven for the family, for family get-togethers. A home is really one of the most important assets for a family to have. Owning a home has far-reaching consequences in our economy for communities.

    This fall, I had the opportunity to be a keynote speaker at a bipartisan leadership forum on achieving the American Dream, hosted by First American [[Page H9031]] Financial Corporation, who is headquartered in my district. I was joined by many of my colleagues, including Representative Linda Sanchez, Representative Emanuel Cleaver, former Governor Luis Fortuno, industry leaders, and community activists.

    The decision to become a homeowner is one of the most important decisions, and it commits a person. It commits a family. It commits us towards getting to the middle class. For people in the bottom 40 percent of annual income level, wealth creation is almost exclusively in homeownership.

    According to the National Association of Home Builders, ``the primary residence represents the largest asset category'' in our country, accounting for 30 percent of our Nation's total assets. The importance of homeownership is even greater for the middle class: 62 percent of the median homeowner's assets and 42 percent of their total wealth lies in their home.

    Not to mention that access to home equity, being able to pull out some of that equity you have built up, provides families with financial stability when there are financial stresses going on in the family. It is an emergency fund in some cases, and it helps to start a business, it helps to fund college for our children. Homeownership is a key to creating stable, economically successful households and to provide security for existing and future generations.

    Households with wealth are able to weather financial shocks and increase upward economic mobility for themselves and for future generations. In fact, analysis provided by First American's Chief Economist, Mark Fleming, highlighted homeownership trends based on household formation rates among Latino and African American Communities. The research identified the importance of homeownership- based wealth formation as the key, the key to wealth creation for middle- and low-income Americans. Providing Americans with equal opportunity to pursue that homeownership is a challenge, and it is very challenging in the Latino, African American, and other minority communities.

    This last recession of 5 or 6 years--this really terrible, difficult recession for so many people--saw in the Latino community two-thirds, 66 percent, of the wealth across our Nation within the Latino community went away.

    I hope that my colleagues will help us in building back to homeownership for all of our communities in America.


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