DESPITE ALL THE TALK ABOUT THE HISPANIC INFLUENCE ON THE housing market, a recent study by Esperanza USA promises that we haven't seen anything yet. Tim Ready, one of the study's authors and the director of research at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, says that although the Hispanic population is growing by leaps and bounds, the true effect won't be felt for another five to 10 years.

“If you think that the increase of renter-occupied and owner-occupied [homes] is attributable to Latino population growth—that's huge,” Ready explains. “But it's even going to be larger [in the future] because Latinos are so young.”

A pregnancy rate for Hispanics that is higher than the national average and a steady immigration stream concentrated on young adults contribute to a younger population. Case in point: Ready says that the average age of the U.S.-born Hispanic population in the metro Chicago area is 12.

With higher housing demand from Hispanics just around the bend, providing adequate affordable housing is a crucial issue. The study reports that Hispanics are already more cost burdened than whites, paying an average 26 percent of their income on housing compared to only 19 percent for whites. Moreover, roughly 10 percent of Hispanic households live in moderately or severely inadequate conditions—nearly double the percentage for whites.

“What we're going to see … is that the need for Hispanics to get quality affordable housing is going to go through the roof,” says Ready. No pun intended.