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More Married LGBT Couples are Purchasing Homes but fear Discrimination

By Press Release | April 8, 2020

Housing discrimination – and the fear of it –  along with a desire for safe and welcoming neighborhoods differentiate LGBT homebuyers and sellers from non LGBT homebuyers and sellers according to National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professional’s (NAGLREP) fourth annual LGBT Real Estate Report. NAGLREP, with nearly 2,800 members, is one of the nation’s largest LGBT trade organizations.

A majority (57%) of NAGLREP members believe more LGBT married couples are buying homes today than prior to the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015. This figure has jumped from 47% in 2017. Additionally, 56% of members believe the LGBT community has shown a greater interest in homeownership since the ruling, up from 46% in 2017.

NAGLREP’s report, which highlights trends from LGBT renters, homebuyers and sellers, culls findings from a February survey of 33% (930 responses) members along with research from Freddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and other sources. RE/MAX is a supporting sponsor of the LGBT Real Estate Report. 

The report also shares that only 32% of LGBT people live in the same general location as where they went to high school. The desire to move away from one’s hometown is strikingly higher for the LGBT community when compared to a recent report from northAmerican Van Lines that showed 72% of Americans live in or close to the city they grew up in. 

NAGLREP’s report showed that 73% of LGBT Baby Boomers live in a different location from where they went to high school followed by Gen X and Millennials, 67% and 63%, respectively.

Top Reasons to Move Away from Where They Grew UpAll LGBT PeopleLGBT Millennials
Job/employment opportunities48%55%
Change in environment/experiences38%47%
Live in more LGBT friendly area31%36%
College/educational opportunities21%38%

“Choosing where to live is the first step in the journey to homeownership and right away we see the importance of being in an accepting and welcoming community,” said Jeff Berger, founder of NAGLREP. “As LGBT people move from renting to home buying, the right neighborhood remains critical. But the fear of discrimination also plays an outsized role for the LGBT community with 46% of renters fearing it during their future home buying process.”

Reasons to Choose a CommunityLGBT HomeownersLGBT Renters
Feel safe (lack of LGBT harassment/violence94%95%
Low violent crime rate94%89%
Neighborhood vibe93%91%
Sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws/protections80%84%
Gender identity anti-discrimination laws/protections70%76%
Many LGBT people already live in area52%58%

NAGLREP’s report found the Equality Act would have major implications on the real estate industry. The bill, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last May and remains stalled in the Senate, would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes and ban discrimination against the LGBT community in many areas, including housing, credit and employment.

The majority of NAGLREP members (55%) believe that LGBT homeownership levels will rise at least 9% within five years of the Equality Act becoming law. LGBT homeownership levels currently stand at 49% compared to the nation’s overall 65% mark.

Additionally, a preponderance of NAGLREP members (57%) believe the policies of the current administration is having a negative impact on the LGBT community’s confidence to buy or sell a home. Thirty percent of members believe a concern of housing discrimination keeps renters they know renting.

The LGBT Real Estate Report also utilized information from Iowa State University to shed light on how lending discrimination impacts the LGBT community, including that 73% of same-sex applicants were more likely to be denied a loan than heterosexual couples despite no evidence that these buyers had high default rates. In fact, the report showed that 34% of LGBT buyers over the last 10 years put down at least a 20% down payment with 67% opting for a 30-year fixed rate loan.

Other notable findings:

  • 51% of NAGLREP members believe a sizable number of their LGBT clients will become “move up” buyers over the next 12 months. Only 18% of NAGLREP members believe a sizable number of their clients will downsize.
  • Outside of discrimination, the fear of discrimination, and heightened desire for welcoming communities, LGBT buyers and sellers appear to have the same concerns as others. NAGLREP members cite affordability (63%), competition from other buyers (57%), inventory levels (57%) and amount needed for a down payment (46%) as overriding concerns for their LGBT clients. 
  • 67% of NAGLREP members believe the number of LGBT people with children has increased, a jump from 57% four years ago. The report also shows that 64% of LGBT people with children are homeowners while 90% of non-parents would want to own a home if they had children.
  • 50% of NAGLREP members report doing at least 16 transaction sides in 2019 compared to just 36% of all Realtors®. 40% of NAGLREP members did at least $ 4 million in sales volume last year (29% for all Realtors). 
  • 53% of NAGLREP members reported a 2019 gross income of more than $100,000 while only 21% of all Realtors were as successful.

“As a global network of more than 130,000 associates, our goal at RE/MAX is to help fulfill the dream of homeownership for as many people as possible,” said Mike Reagan, Senior Vice President Industry Relations and Global Growth and Development for RE/MAX. “In doing this, we believe things are better when everybody wins. This means being fair, doing the right thing and providing value to buyers and sellers throughout the process. To that end, we are proud to be a supporting sponsor of the 2020 LGBT Housing Report and the mission of NAGLREP.  All real estate professionals should dive into this report and position themselves to provide unmatched service and value to the LGBT community”.The NAGLREP report provides a backdrop for the April 29 LGBT Housing Policy Summit. The virtual and free event will feature leading LGBT ally, U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA). It will also include top speakers from the real estate and lending industries along with those from the LGBT community.

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