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PHOENIX -- A National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals study found that Hispanic home ownership jumped by almost 60 percent nationally from 2000 to 2012.

In that same time span, the population of non-Hispanic U.S. homeowners only increased 0.7 percent.

"It's increasing, the power of buying," said Martha Navarro, a realtor with Home Smart in Phoenix. "Not only housing, but everything in general."

Navarro said for many in the Hispanic community, owning a home is the first step in the American dream.

"They believe that buying a home is the pathway to get at family wealth."

There were 9 million Hispanic households in the U.S. in 2000. Last year, that number was at 15.5 million.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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