The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, one of the nation’s leading LGBTQ+ trade organizations with more than 3,000 members, has unveiled its third annual LGBTQ+ Real Estate Report which found that “formalized” relationships, engagements and marriages are a major driver of LGBTQ+ homeownership. Titled “The LGBTQ+ Journey to Homeownership,” the report also found that anti-LGBTQ+ bills and rhetoric seen in Congress and statehouses around the nation are having a negative impact on consumer confidence and homeowner behavior.
“The report uses 30 different sources, along with our annual member survey, to gain insight into the journey to homeownership for the LGBTQ+ community beginning when they first strike out on their own,” said Ryan Weyandt, CEO of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance. “We now have data that shows why urban centers are attractive to the LGBTQ+ community as most rent there at the start of their professional lives. We also have a greater awareness of what drives community members to purchase homes, including the impact of same-sex marriage and children. Unfortunately, the gains our growing LGBTQ+ population has made are suffering some today as a minority in our nation, including elected officials, are attacking us with greater frequency.”
Impact of “Formalized” Relationships, Engagements and Marriages
The Alliance survey found that 37.7% of LGBTQ+ respondents identified a “formalized” relationship, engagement, or marriage as one of the top three reasons for their decision to become first-time home buyers. This was the top home purchase driver after three different financial considerations. Lesbian women (58.4%) were more likely than gay men (34.3%) to report a “formalized” relationship, engagement or marriage as one of the top three reasons for the purchase of their first home. Straight respondents (53.8%) had this is the second most important trigger to purchase after “long-term financial investment.
More than 90% of straight LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance member respondents purchased their first home by 33 years of age compared to only 75.9% of LGBTQ+ people.
Percent of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance who shared a “formalized” relationship, engagements or marriage was a top three reason to purchase their first, second, third or fourth home.
|First Home||Second Home||Third Home||Fourth Home|
|Gay men ONLY||34.3%||34.4%||26.8%||29.9%|
|Lesbian women ONLY||58.4%||50.0%||56.5%||50.0%|
Impact of Children
The U.S. Census recently reported there are the 1.2 million same-sex couples in the U.S. while Gallup reported the number same-sex marriages are up 70% since 2015. It is therefore not surprising to see a surge of LGBTQ+ people with children. UCLA’s Williams Institute reports that 29.0% of LGBTQ+ people have children and that 21.9% of married same-sex couples are raising kids.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance member survey shows that children and growing families were mentioned prominently as a home buying trigger. Straight respondents weighted children and growing families heavily through their third home purchase while LGBTQ+ respondents valued their importance most when buying their second home.
“We are only eight years into the legalization of same-sex marriage and are now beginning to see signs that more LGBTQ+ people are becoming parents,” Weyandt said. “This is leading to an emphasis on their children’s well-being and education when choosing where to live.”
The percentage of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members who reported children/growing family as a top three reason to purchase their first, second, third or fourth home:
|First Home||Second Home||Third Home||Fourth Home|
|Gay men ONLY||2.5%||9.0%||6.3%||1.5%|
|Lesbian women ONLY||16.3%||26.4%||21.7%||8.3%|
Percentage of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance survey respondents who valued schools as one of the top 10 reasons for choosing to purchase a home:
|LGBTQ+ only access to schools||Straight access to schools||LGBTQ+ only access to better schools||Straight access to better schools|
Starting on their own
The Alliance member survey found that nearly 90% of LGBTQ+ respondents first lived on their own prior to 24 years of age, with 12.3% doing so before they turned 18. More than half of LGBTQ+ people surveyed began living on their own in a building with at least 5 units. Gay men were 26.6% more likely to start in such a building than straight surveyed respondents.
LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members shared where they first lived at the start of their professional career:
|LGBTQ+ All||Gay Only||Lesbian Only||Straight|
|Urban area/central city||63.8%||68.3%||45.5%||42.4%|
LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members shared the age they began to live on their own:
|LGBTQ+ All||Gay Only||Lesbian Only||Straight|
The Alliance survey found that 31.5% of all LGBTQ+ members considered a community’s social and dating scene as one of the top five reasons they selected where to first live on their own. A strong LGBTQ+ presence (28.5%) and nightlife (24.5%) were also mentioned prominently. Gay men rated each slightly higher at 35.6%, 29.8% and 28.9%.
Interestingly, when LGBTQ+ members purchased their first home, neither social and dating scene or nightlife scored as a top 10 reason for selecting the community they bought their home in. A strong LGBTQ+ presence was the eighth most important reason in selecting where to buy.
“The report shows what we have been saying for years, LGBTQ+ people are people and we value so much of the same things as everyone else,” LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Erin Morrison, a Realtor® in Texas said. “We want access to good jobs, affordability, to be near our friends and family, have loving relationships and live in welcoming communities. We deserve respect, dignity, and the unhindered ability to be us.”
AARP2 reported that LGBTQ+ adults desire to live in communities with a mix of homes, offices, and shops. In fact, 51% of LGBTQ+ adults shared that they prefer to live in suburbs or small towns with such amenities.
This theme plays out when purchasing homes too. The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance member survey shows that straight respondents chose to purchase their first homes in non-urban areas by a wide margin for the duration of their home buying journey. LGBTQ+ people are more evenly split until their fourth home purchase. At that point, LGBTQ+ people, led by gay men, return to urban roots while lesbian women also consider resort communities.
Percentage of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members identify where they purchased their homes:
|Location of FIRST Home Purchased||LGBTQ+ All||Gay Only||Lesbian Only||Straight|
|Urban area/central city||46.6%||51.3%||32.6%||32.8%|
|Location of SECOND Home Purchased||LGBTQ+ All||Gay Only||Lesbian Only||Straight|
|Urban area/central city||40.9%||43.9%||37.1%||16.4%|
|Location of THIRD Home Purchased||LGBTQ+ All||Gay Only||Lesbian Only||Straight|
|Urban area/central city||43.2%||48.6%||34.8%||32.4%|
|Location of FOURTH Home Purchased||LGBTQ+ All||Gay Only||Lesbian Only||Straight|
|Urban area/central city||51.7%||56.7%||41.7%||27.8%|
Impact of Anti-LGBTQ+ Activity
The past several years has seen an explosion of anti-LGBTQ+ bills in statehouses across the nation including more than 340 introduced already in 2023. There were 315 and 191 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in 2022 and 2021, respectively. The ACLU is currently tracking more than 435 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the U.S.
The Center for American Progress recently shared that 51% of LGBTQ+ adults reported that discriminatory bills and rhetoric moderately or significantly affected their mental health or made them feel less safe. The number jumped to 81% for transgender people.
Nearly 70% of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members believe that the current number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills being passed or discussed in statehouses around the nation will negatively impact the financial stability of LGBTQ+ people.
UCLA’s Williams Institute surveyed LGBTQ+ parents in Florida on the impact of the state’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill which became known as the “Don’t Say Gay'' bill:
|Response from LGBTQ+ parents in Florida||Percentage|
|Considered moving out of Florida||56%|
|Taken steps to move out of Florida||16%|
|I was less “out” in my neighborhood, workplace, or community||19%|
|I have witnessed increased hostility towards LGBTQ+ people in my community||8.8%|
|Political climate is a major downside of living in Florida||74.3%|
|I was scared of being harassed or bothered by neighbors because of my sexual orientation or gender identity||23.1%|
Impact of Discrimination
The Center for American Progress recently shared that 29% of LGBTQ+ people reported experiencing some kind of housing discrimination or harassment in a housing setting this past year. The National Fair Housing Alliance has reported a rise in sex-based housing discrimination complaints, including those against gender identity and sexual orientation, equating to 7.4% of all cases, the third most frequent form of housing discrimination complaints.
Twenty-one percent of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members believe discrimination against LGBTQ+ potential homebuyers has increased over the last three years, compared to 17.9% a year ago. At the same time, only 12.7% believe discrimination has lessened compared to 25.9% a year ago.
LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members report that real estate agents are no longer the leading culprit in how discrimination is visible in real estate. This year’s survey shows that 19.8% of members cite agents as the leading culprit, down from 20.7% a year ago. Members believe the legal forms needing signatures that do not adequately represent life experiences of potential homebuyers are now the most discriminatory with 20.3% of members citing them. Discriminatory sellers followed at 20.1%.
Percentage of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members identifying change in discrimination against LGBTQ+ community over the last three years:
|2023 surveyed member reporting of change over last 3 years||2022 surveyed member reporting of change over last 3 years|
Where housing discrimination is most visible according to LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance members:
|Types of discrimination visible over the last three years||Percentage of members reporting|
|Legal forms needing signatures did not adequately represent the life experiences of potential homebuyer||20.3%|
|Seller discriminated against prospective homebuyer||20.1%|
|Legal forms needing signature did not adequately represent the life experiences of potential homebuyer||19.8%|
|Real estate professionals discriminated against prospective homebuyers||17.4%|
|Landlord/leasing agent discriminated against the prospective tenant||17.1%|
|Real estate professionals discriminated against a prospective tenant||12.6%|
|The seller refused to sell to a prospective homebuyer||12.6%|
|Legal forms needing signature did not adequately represent life experiences of the potential tenant||8.3%|
|Lender discriminated against prospective homebuyer||6.7%|
|Landlord/leasing agent refused to rent to a prospective tenant||5.4%|
A download of the full report is available here.
Methodology: The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance allowed members to participate in its third annual member survey from March 15-26, 2023. More than 380 members participated. This report only includes actual responses and removes those who replied “don’t know” or “N/A'' when appropriate.
ABOUT THE LGBTQ+ REAL ESTATE ALLIANCE
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is a 501(c)6 non-profit dedicated to empowering the LGBTQ+ community on the path to homeownership as we also advocate on behalf of the community on housing issues. The Alliance, founded in June 2020, is an all-inclusive organization that works to improve the professional lives of its members through a public-facing Alliance Referral Community. The Alliance began accepting members in October 2020 and has more than 2,600 members and dozens of chapters in North America. It was named the 2022 Inman News Innovator of the Year in the MLS, Association, or Industry Organization category. Its public-facing website, LGBTQplusHomes.com, provides information on home buying and selling along with allowing the LGBTQ+ community the opportunity to reach Alliance members for their real estate needs. For more information visit realestatealliance.org.