"I had my goals clear when I came to this country," said Cruz, who moved to North Jersey from the Dominican Republic five years ago and works as an area manager at a parking company. "I always had my dream to buy my own house."

Last year, that dream became a reality for Cruz when he purchased a two-family home in Garfield, where he now lives with his wife, daughter and parents. As Cruz put it, it was an investment; instead of spending his income on rent, which he did for years, he put his money in ownership.

Rise as others fall

Home buyers like Cruz helped drive the Hispanic homeownership rate last year, when for the first time in 10 years the rate rose while overall homeownership rates decreased. That’s according to the 2015 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report conducted by the Hispanic Wealth Project and National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. READ MORE AT NORTHJERSEY.COM

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