When it comes to purchasing a home, buyers in the LGBTQ community want to know that they are safe and accepted, according to recent reports released by realtor.com® and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
“Discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in housing is real, but we know the fear of discrimination is even greater,” said Ryan Weyandt, CEO of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, which is partnering with realtor.com® to identify and address challenges associated with housing discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
The latter announced the collaboration on Thurs., June 10, coinciding with the annual recognition of Pride Month, while also unveiling findings of a new survey that found that members of the LGBTQ community were less likely to become homeowners amid ongoing discrimination in real estate.
The report surveyed 1,538 LGBTQ community members living in the U.S.
More than half of the respondents didn’t own their primary residence, compared to about 66% of the general population who do.
“I think it’s apparent that we’re able to draw a solid line from how being bullied as an adolescent or teen can ultimately impair you from generational wealth creation through homeownership 15 – 20 years later,” Weyandt said in an email to RISMedia. “There is a prevalent fear that folks in the community will face discrimination in their home-buying process at some point.”
According to Weyandt, there are 27 states that don’t offer protection against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That could be subject to change if the Equality Act is passed, establishing comprehensive federal nondiscrimination laws nationwide for the LGBTQ community.
Roughly two in 10 survey respondents confirmed that they had been discriminated against when applying for a rental lease or buying a home. Of the respondents, more than half said they experienced discrimination in the past five years—most said it was because of their sexual orientation.
Discrimination was even more pronounced among transgender people, with 44% having experienced or suspected it.
According to a recent report from NAR, homeownership in the LGBTQ community has remained at roughly 4% of the overall buyer and seller pool since 2015.
Along with safety and acceptance, an affordable neighborhood is top of the list for homebuyers in the LGBTQ community, according to NAR’s 2021 Profile of LGBTQ Home Buyers and Sellers, released on Wed., June 9.
The data used for this report is a collection of 41,950 responses from participants who specified sexual orientation in annual surveys from 2015 to 2020.
The report found that homebuyers in America’s LGBTQ community ranked “Neighborhood Quality, Convenience and Affordability” as most important when they considered purchasing a home.
“Understanding how buyers navigate the housing market is essential to REALTORS®,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, in a press release. “This report details the impact of the housing affordability challenges on LGBTQ buyers, who typically had lower household incomes and were more likely to be purchasing more affordable homes.”
Forty-two percent of LGBTQ buyers were first-time homebuyers, compared to just 32% of non-LGBTQ buyers. However, the two groups were equally likely to be first-time home sellers—at 37% and 33%, respectively.
NAR found that homebuyers from America’s LGBTQ community purchase older, smaller and less expensive homes than non-LGBTQ buyers.
The median sale price for homes purchased by LGBTQ buyers was $245,000, compared to $268,000 for non-LGBTQ buyers. The average square footage of a purchased home was 170 square feet smaller and 15 years older than those bought by non-LGBTQ buyers in the past five years.
There is still work that needs to be done to end housing discrimination against LGBTQ buyers and sellers. Still, Weyandt says collaborations with organizations willing to help the cause are moving in the right direction.
“There is a void of accurate data sampled from the LGBTQ+ community in America,” he says. “As you can imagine, without data points, theories never evolve into action, and trying to explain why the homeownership rate in the LGBTQ+ community is at 49% when mainstream America is significantly higher is virtually impossible.”
Solving the problem won’t happen overnight, but Weyandt says through The Alliance’s education platform, they hope to “drastically increase” the LGBTQ+ homeownership rate in the coming years.
The alliance will host the first national LGBTQ+ First-Time Homebuyer seminar on June 16 and first-time homebuyer guide.
Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email him your real estate news to email@example.com.