Immigrant home buying up over time
Gary Pinnell | Highlands TodaySEBRING - When Marcial Librado emigrated from Mexico to the United States in 1985, he picked citrus in Sebring and Lake Placid.
Published: February 7, 2013
Published: February 7, 2013
Like most strangers in a strange land, his life was less stable then, but 13 years later, Librado bought a home in Sebring.
Family members came too, and it was hard for them to find a place to stay, so Librado bought a second house in 2000.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 52 percent of foreign-born householders owned their homes in 2011. That compares with 67 percent of native-born householders who owned their homes.
However, the Census Bureau added, the longer foreign-born residents are in the U.S., the more likely they are to invest in a home. The report released last week, "Homeownership Among the Foreign-Born Population," is based on 2011 American Community Survey data.
"Homeownership is a goal shared by many residents of the United States, both native- and foreign-born, citizen and noncitizen," said Elizabeth Grieco, the Census Bureau's Foreign-Born Population Branch chief. "For immigrants in particular — who maintain nearly one in seven households in the U.S. — making the transition from renter to homeowner represents a significant investment in the United States."
"They're very conscious of owning a home," said Jeanny Campbell, a broker agent with RE/MAX Realty Plus in Sebring. A Puerto Rican, she is an American native who speaks Spanish. "They appear to have cash. They are not 100 percent financing, and they seem to be more accepting of what they can afford. They're OK with not having the fancy features."
Canadians are also significant buyers in the Highlands market, Campbell said.
The report found that foreign-born naturalized citizens were more likely to own their homes than foreign-born noncitizens, and Librado, now 47, fits the profile there too.
"Rates of homeownership among foreign-born households also increased with time spent in the United States," the report said.
In naturalized citizen households, 66 percent were owner-occupied. That compares with 34 percent of noncitizen households.
Today, Librado works with his son at Hidden Acres Nursery, between Sebring and Lake Placid.
"Recently, my dad started working with me in the lab part of the company," said Santiago Librado. "It consists of sterilizing small tubs for tissue culture of a breed of grass called 'red fountain grass,' which is then sent outside to be planted in greenhouses. But the other part is usually planting and maintaining the grass that is growing."
Among current foreign-born householders who entered the country before 1980, nearly three-fourths owned rather than rented. Among households headed by someone who entered the U.S. since 2000, only one-fourth were owned.
According to the census brief, just 10 metropolitan statistical areas accounted for about half the nation's foreign-born households in 2011, led by New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
Homeownership by foreign-borns varied around the country. States such as Alaska, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire and New Mexico had homeownership rates of about 60 percent among foreign-born households.
Home ownership rates varied by region of birth: 66 percent of householders from Europe were owner-occupied, compared with 40 percent of households headed by someone born in Africa.
In general, foreign-born households with a householder from Europe or Asia were more likely to own and occupy their homes than those headed by someone from Africa or Latin America, but Hispanics like Librado are reversing that trend.
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