Hispanic community increasing homeownership in Rockford

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — For many, chasing ‘The American Dream’ can mean different things but for some owning their own home is an accomplishment of a major milestone.

“All of my family members are really proud of me for doing this big step in life,” explained new homeowner Catherine Villegas.

At 20-years-old, Catherine Villegas made a big step in her life by becoming a homeowner. She comes from a Mexican-American family and credits them for helping her make the leap.

“They always taught me to save up money at a very young age because I started working at 16 and I’ve been saving ever since,” Villegas said.

Rockford Area Realtors CEO Conor Brown says many Hispanic families are making the move to Rockford.

“What we’re seeing is this great example of trying to capture the American dream and so we have a young homebuyer who is taking advantage of an incredibly affordable housing market,” Brown explained.

Villegas sought help from local realtor Fidel Batres. The real estate agent says many young Hispanic buyers hope to settle down in Rockford.

I’m seeing a lot of the second generation not moving out of the area and staying because it’s so affordable and being able to be a homeowner is important to them,” said Fidel Batres of Keller Williams Realtor.

I know I’m going to be here for a long time because my parents are here. Unless my parents move, I’ll move and I know I’m going to be here for a long time,” Villegas added.

Villegas says among many lessons her parents taught her, one of them was maintaining a good credit score.

“I always save my money and my parents taught me that as well so make sure you have a savings account I know we’re young and we buy everything and we want everything that everyone wants but you have to think about your priorities first, you have to think about your life and your future,” she concluded.

For those looking to settle down in the Forest City, Batres it’s all about timing.

Take your time the right house will come houses are coming everyday to the market and it’s cheaper to own then to rent,” Batres added.

According to Rockford Area Realtors, the amount of Hispanic homeownership has increased in the last 5 years and they expect those numbers to continue to climb.

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