For many immigrants, homeownership is an ultimate goal, often just behind obtaining U.S. citizenship in terms of solidifying a life in the United States.
A recent study from the Woodrow Wilson Center, which was featured by National Public Radio, found that 84 percent of respondents still believe that homeownership is just as important as it was five years ago, despite the real estate industry undergoing a severe collapse in recent years. Ninety percent of respondents believe that having a home is still a pivotal part of the American Dream.
Angel Cruz, for example, came to the United States in 1964 and has been working multiple jobs to support himself ever since, including making coat hangers, doing landscaping and sanding cabinets, according to another NPR story. Although Cruz and his wife, Eva, have had citizenship for 40 years, they could only afford to purchase their house three years ago.
Once immigrants achieve the dream of owning their own home, most hold onto this home longer than native-born citizens. A study from the Pew Hispanic Center found that the rate of homeownership in the United States among immigrants has declined at a much slower rate than homeownership among native-born residents. Among Hispanic immigrants, the rate of homeownership has largely stayed the same through the current housing bust. The homeownership rate among Hispanic immigrants increased from 36.9 percent in 1995 to 44.7 percent in 2007, and stayed at 44.7 percent through 2008, according to the source. Conversely, homeownership rates for native-born citizens, despite being higher than immigrants originally, have continued to fall, from 71.5 percent in 2004 to 70 percent in 2008.