ACCORDING TO A NEW STUDY RELEASED BY the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) nearly 250,000 of the estimated 1.5 million undocumented Latino immigrant households in the U.S. could become homeowners if barriers such as identification, legalization, traditional credit requirements, and language were broken. Undocumented status creates a major barrier because the immigrants have trouble proving their identity and credit history.

Adding an estimated $44 billion in new mortgages to the housing economy, the report speculates that the flow of capital from these home purchases would stimulate business across the financial services, construction, remodeling, and retail sectors and also increase the tax base for communities with high immigrant populations. At this time, the government mortgage arms of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are not financing mortgage ARMs taken out by undocumented individuals.

According to the report:

  • More than 215,000 currently undocumented households could become homeowners if they had legal status.
  • Some 172,626 undocumented renter households could potentially afford a home worth $94,500 or more.
  • “Undocumented Latinos are an invisible element in our economy today,” says Gary Acosta, chairman and co-founder of NAHREP. “Until now, no one has attempted to quantify the positive impact these consumers can have on our nation. This is a matter of economics. As homeowners, these people would make enormous contributions to local communities all across America.”