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Have You Overlooked a Key Market?

Many salespeople are overlooking fast-growing demographic groups containing large swaths of underserved consumers, says Frances Martinez Myers, senior vice president of business development at Prudential Fox & Roach.

She spoke last week at the 2007 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

Single women, immigrants, and Hispanics are the segments that practitioners should be paying attention to, she says. Collectively, she estimates that the three cohorts represent 50 percent of all current buyers. Yet, some real estate salespeople ignore the groups in the belief that they take too much time and work and the price points they’re looking at are too low to be worthwhile.

“I’m amazed when I hear people who are waiting it out for the million dollar guy,” she said. “It’s the small ones that pay the bills.” Overlooking these eager, new buyers could be a costly mistake.

Statistics clearly show the huge untapped potential in these new markets:

Single women now represent 20 percent of recent buyers, a 50 percent jump over the past eight years.
83 percent of single female home buyers choose single-family homes, rather than condos.
28 percent of households will be headed by women by 2010.
Room for growth: the home ownership rate for women is currently 23 percent.

Immigrants represented 40 percent of new household formations between 2000 and 2005.
In the 25-to-34 age group, 20 percent of the population is currently foreign-born.
14 percent of recent buyers are immigrants.
Immigrants put more down, averaging down payments of 7 percent versus 4 percent down by native-born Americans.
Immigrants allocate more of their income for housing — 39 percent on average versus 28 percent for U.S. natives.

Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States.
Hispanic purchasing power is projected to equal the third largest economy in the hemisphere by 2010.
72 percent living here are U.S. citizens.

Myers recommends that real estate brokerages who want to work with immigrants, Hispanics, and single women should recruit personnel and sales associates who reflect the ethnic communities and markets they serve.

To connect with the exploding Hispanic market, it’s useful to make Spanish-language forms available, she added.

REALTOR® Magazine Online