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Some real estate experts anticipate that Latinos will be the engine that's going to drive the recovery in the troubled housing market.

As a rapidly growing population with increasing purchasing power, Latinos will represent 40 percent of new homebuyers in the next 20 years, according to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.



Various factors, such as low interest rates and increasing income, have contributed to a rapid jump in the rate of Latino homeowners, from 41 percent in 1994 to 50 percent in 2006, according to "The Potential of Hispanic Homeownership: Challenges and Opportunities," by Alejandro Becerra, a NAHREP member and independent researcher. The growth rate is more than twice that of white, non-Latino households.

In 2006, Latino purchasing power was estimated at $798 billion and it is expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2010 or earlier, according to Becerra's report.

In California, affording a home is especially difficult. California's homeownership rate ranks 49th out of 50 states, according to the California Building Industry Association. While nearly 70 percent of people nationwide are homeowners, less than 60 percent in California are homeowners. The rate is even lower among Latinos in California, 44 percent, according to a recent CBIA study.

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