Two of every five first-time home buyers in the Tampa Bay area will be Hispanic within the next 20 years. Hispanic buying power has jumped 357 percent from 1990 to today, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, yet real estate companies have yet to specifically focus on and cater to that market - until now.
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate recently launched CASA Coldwell Banker, a Spanish language initiative to help bridge the language and cultural gap with the Hispanic community in the home-buying process.
"We look forward to informing and helping the Hispanic community to realize the American dream of homeownership by offering a clear understanding of the home buying and selling process and providing assistance during each step of the real estate transaction," says Cathleen Smith, senior vice president, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Tampa Bay.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population of Florida increased 70 percent to 2.7 million people in the past 10 years. The Tampa-St. Petersburg area is the eighth fastest-growing Hispanic market in the nation and Hispanics account for more than 20 percent of the population in Hillsborough County.
During the next 20 years, 40 percent of first-time home buyers are expected to be Hispanic.
Smith says CASA Coldwell Banker is the company's way of addressing the difficulties the Hispanic community has traditionally had when entering the real estate market.
"Since real estate is relationship driven, by bridging the language gap with the Spanish-speaking community, CASA Coldwell Banker aims at building trust and making customers for life," Smith says.
Clark Toole III, president and chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, says, "Coldwell Banker is based on building cultural awareness and informing Hispanic consumers of our commitment and continued professionalism with culturally appropriate marketing and business materials."
As the state's largest residential real estate brokerage company, Coldwell Banker could make quite an impact on changing the Florida real estate market to address the needs of the Hispanic community, say company officials.
"CASA Coldwell Banker is committed to the Hispanic market," Toole says. "Spanish-speaking staff will be available during every step of the transaction from title services to home loans.
"CASA Coldwell Banker has a strong commitment to raising cultural awareness by serving each buyer and seller with excellent customer service and reaching the Hispanic community with real estate solutions."
Even the timing of the CASA Coldwell Banker launch was designed to show cultural awareness. It was launched at the end of National Hispanic Heritage celebration, which ended Oct. 15.
"As the Hispanic market continues to grow here in Florida, CASA Coldwell Banker will be ready to help and serve the Hispanic community," Toole says.
Smith adds, "It only makes sense for the largest residential real estate brokerage company in Florida to squarely address and help the largest-growing minority community with one of the most important decisions in a person's life, namely homeownership."
Coldwell Banker has more than 650 Spanish-speaking sales associates in Florida. For information on buying or selling a home, visit www.floridamoves.com or call 1-800-624-5292.