The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) released its 2023 State of Asia America report this week, which found that the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) homeownership rate in the middle and lower-income levels are far below equal earning non-Hispanic Whites and comparable to those of the Black and Hispanic communities. The report, created in partnership with RE/MAX and Freddie Mac, also showcased how high home prices are driving AANHPI people from traditional urban centers.
The report, issued annually since 2015, was shared Wednesday at AREAA’s Northeast Regional Retreat in New York City, the organization stated. AREAA, a national nonprofit trade organization, is celebrating its 20th year focused on improving the homeownership rates of the AANHPI community. Its 44 chapters and 18,000 members utilize the report to influence local and national policy and positively impact the lives of AANHPI prospective and current homeowners. Its findings will also be shared on Capitol Hill and with federal agency leaders during AREAA’s Diversity and Fair Housing Summit in May, they said.
“The report puts into perspective what is occurring today within the AANHPI community,” said Kurt Nishimura, president of AREAA. “While we are the fastest-growing diverse sector in the nation, those in our middle and lower incomes are not keeping pace in homeownership levels with those for the non-Hispanic White sector. We are also much more comparable than previously discussed to the Black and Hispanic middle- and lower-income households.”
Middle- and lower-income groups
The State of Asia America report breaks down AANHPI homeownership rate by income levels going beyond the overall AANHPI levels of 61.9%. The U.S. Census’ American Community Survey reports the AANHPI middle- and lower-income levels, those who make 140%-or-less of a local market’s median income (AMI), join their comparable Black and Hispanic communities in being far behind non-Hispanic Whites in homeownership rates.
Income vs. affordability concerns lead to AANHPI migration
The State of Asia America reports found wealth is not necessarily the driver of high homeownership levels. While several subgroups within the AANHPI community have increased household income over the last several years, those living in the West and Northeast still find homeownership largely unattainable. For example, in 2021:
- Korean communities had an 18% increase in household income, but of those families, only 3% can afford a home in the West and 7% can afford a home in the Northeast.
- Chinese communities had a 12% increase in household income, but of those families, only 2% can afford a home in the West, 4% can afford a home in the Northeast.
- Vietnamese communities had a 10% increase in household income, but of those families, only 1% can afford a home in the West and 6% can afford a home in the Northeast.
- Hawaiian communities had an 8% increase in household income, but of those families, only 1% can afford a home in the West and 6% can afford a home in the Northeast.
- Japanese communities had a 7% increase in household income, but of those families, only 2% can afford a home in the West and 6% can afford a home in the Northeast.
The propensity to live in some of the nation’s most expensive markets has made homeownership challenging for AANHPI people, one of the drivers of AANHPI migration. The U.S. Census reported that the South saw its AANHPI population grow by 25.2 percent between 2010-2022, while the Midwest increased by 40.5 percent.
The State of Asia America Report also found that Washington, Florida, and Virginia generated 56.9 percent of all AANHPI inbound migration from 2010-2019.
|State||Positive Net AANHPI Migration|
Houston is one of the specific markets attracting increased numbers of AANHPI people. According to the National Consumer Reporting Association, more than half of the “mortgage ready” AANHPI population in the metro can afford the region’s $344,000 (Realtor.com) median home listing price. The group defines “mortgage ready” as those 45-and-under without a current mortgage, with a credit score of 661-plus, a debt-to-income ratio not exceeding 25% and other factors).
Traditional AANHPI California strongholds in San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles compare with only 0.1%, 0.5% and 2.2% affordability levels, respectively.
“While so many in our community settled in such places as California and New York, eventually created household wealth and are considered ‘mortgage ready,’ they simply cannot afford a home,” Nishimura said. “This imbalance is leading to migration away from these areas. It’s not surprising that the South and Midwest are attracting our community. Hopefully, we will see AANHPI homeownership rates rise in these regions.”
Various ethnicities and homeownership
According to the report, all but seven studied AANHPI ethnicities fell below the overall U.S. median family income, reported by the U.S. Census to be $70,784, but only Vietnamese and Chinese Americans exceeded the nation’s 65.9% homeownership rate.
The 1.88 million Vietnamese Americans have a 69.2% homeownership rate, the highest of any AANHPI group, despite an $82,900 median income which is 84.6% lower than Asian Indian Americans who have a 62% homeownership rate.
There are multiple factors that contribute to this subgroup’s homeownership success. First, while the top MSAs for Vietnamese Americans include low affordability areas like LA, the total population is distributed across more affordable MSAs and the South. Furthermore, Vietnamese Americans have one of the highest rates of multigenerational housing among AANHPI subgroups, allowing more household members to contribute to rental and housing payments.
|Ethnic Group||Population||Median Household Income||Homeownership Rate|
|Asian Indian||4.39 million||$153,050||62.0%|
“It is clear that the AANHPI community is not a homogeneous group, and each ethnicity has different levels of homeownership that are obviously impacted by home prices where they are situated,” Nishimura said. “The Vietnamese and Filipino communities are great examples of those who are thriving in the more affordable South and Midwest. We also recognize there are ethnicities within the AANHPI community where household income is relatively strong, but homeownership rates don’t reflect this success. We clearly have a lot of work to do.”
AREAA is working to ensure lenders develop programming and increased access to credit for the AANHPI community, the report stated. It is also encouraging the brokerage community to recruit AANHPI agents and provide them with the skills to reach their sphere of influence. At the same time, AREAA is continuing to work with policy leaders and elected officials to alleviate AANHPI community concerns during the home buying and lending process, including persistent language barriers and affordable housing needs.”
This effort includes working with the Biden Administration to further disaggregate AANHPI data to show how various subgroups fare in homeownership and access to credit. AREAA is working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in their effort to determine the necessity for in-language support in the mortgage process.
AREAA will also work with the FHFA in the rollout of the recently approved lending model that considers rent, utility and telecom payment history and other alternative credit in determining financial stability for those seeking home loans.
Visit areaa.org for more information.