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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 percent) 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 percent in 2017. Additionally, 56 percent of members believe the LGBT community has shown a greater interest in homeownership since the ruling, up from 46 percent in 2017.

NAGLREP’s report, which highlights trends from LGBT renters, homebuyers and sellers, culls findings from a February survey of 33 percent (930 responses) of 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 percent 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 North American Van Lines, that showed 72 percent of Americans live in or close to the city they grew up in.

NAGLREP’s report showed that 73 percent of LGBT baby boomers live in a different location from where they went to high school, followed by Gen X and millennials, 67 percent and 63 percent, respectively.

Credit: National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP)

“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,” says 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 percent of renters fearing it during their future home-buying process.”

Credit: National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP)

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 percent) believe that LGBT homeownership levels will rise at least 9 percent within five years of the Equality Act becoming law. LGBT homeownership levels currently stand at 49 percent, compared to the nation’s overall 65 percent mark.

Additionally, a preponderance of NAGLREP members (57 percent) believe current policies in Washington are 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 percent 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 percent of LGBT buyers over the last 10 years put down at least a 20 percent down payment, with 67 percent opting for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

Other notable findings:

  • Fifty-one percent of NAGLREP members believe a sizable number of their LGBT clients will become move-up buyers over the next 12 months. Only 18 percent 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 percent), competition from other buyers (57 percent), inventory levels (57 percent) and amount needed for a down payment (46 percent) as overriding concerns for their LGBT clients.
  • Sixty-seven percent of NAGLREP members believe the number of LGBT people with children has increased, a jump from 57 percent four years ago. The report also shows that 64 percent of LGBT people with children are homeowners while 90 percent of non-parents would want to own a home if they had children.
  • Fifty percent of NAGLREP members report doing at least 16 transaction sides in 2019 compared to just 36 percent of all REALTORS®. Forty percent of NAGLREP members did at least $4 million in sales volume last year (29 percent for all REALTORS®).
  • Fifty-three percent of NAGLREP members reported a 2019 gross income of more than $100,000 while only 21 percent 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,” says 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-Calif.). It will also include top speakers from the real estate and lending industries, along with those from the LGBT community.

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