The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals has endorsed San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s nomination to be head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

President Obama tapped Castro last week to succeed Shaun Donovan as secretary of housing. Donovan’s been picked to head up the White House budget office.

Julian Castro

Julian Castro

NAHREP, a nonprofit trade group devoted to increasing homeownership among Latinos and supporting the real estate professionals who serve them, has more than 21,000 members nationwide. The group called for Castro’s prompt confirmation in the U.S. Senate.

“Latinos are the primary drivers among new homebuyers but remain an underserved segment of the housing industry,” said Gary Acosta, co-founder and CEO of NAHREP, in a statement.

“Having a HUD secretary that comes from the community and who clearly understands the importance of the Latino market is significant.”

Hispanics have powered more than half of the growth in homeownership in recent years, according to NAHREP’s 2013 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report released in April.

“Since 2010, Hispanics have accounted for a net increase of 559,000 owner households, representing 56 percent of the total net growth of owner households in the U.S. Their purchasing power is estimated to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2015, a $500 billion increase from 2010,” Acosta said.

Castro, a Democrat, was elected mayor of San Antonio in 2009, re-elected two years later with more than 82 percent of the vote, and has turned the city into an “economic powerhouse,” the trade group said.

“Julian Castro is the grandson of immigrants and exemplifies the American dream,” said NAHREP President Jason Madiedo in a statement.

“He is exceedingly qualified to follow the outstanding work of Secretary Shaun Donovan and lead HUD at a time when the housing market is still in recovery,” he added.

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