November is Native American Heritage Month which makes this a great time to take a closer look at Native American homeownership. Often referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, this month offers the opportunity to celebrate the cultures, traditions, histories, and contributions of the nation’s Native people. Homeownership is an important cornerstone to the economic well-being of the Native American population, but the Native population in our nation faces unique housing challenges. The REALTOR® community is committing to promoting public- and private-sector resources that open up homeownership opportunities to all.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native population, including those who are more than one race, totaled 6.9 million, accounting for just under 2% of the total population. Nationally, the Native American homeownership rate has remained relatively stable over the past few years, though it is lower than the rate for White and Asian residents.
In Virginia, there are an estimated 91,000 residents who are American Indian, accounting for about 1% of the Commonwealth’s population. An estimated 57% of American Indians living in Virginia are homeowners, compared to 71% of Whites, 48% of Blacks, and 66% of Asians. Native Americans are slightly more likely to reside in the Commonwealth’s rural communities and are more likely to live in manufactured housing. (An estimated 7.2% of Native Americans versus 4% of Whites in Virginia live in manufactured housing in Virginia.)
There are many resources available to American Indian and Alaska Native people to access stable housing and become homeowners.
- Fannie Mae’s Native American Homeownership program promotes access to mortgage credits and makes mortgage products available to homebuyers on tribal lands in Michigan and New Mexico.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 184 Home Loan Guarantee program makes private mortgage financing available to Native Americans by providing loan guarantees to lenders.
- HUD’s Tribal Housing Activities Loan Guarantee Program provides funding for affordable housing activities on tribal lands.
- The S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers special refinancing options to veterans who are Native American or have a Native American spouse.