Research shows more homeownership education needed for LGBT community

By Kim Shindle | Oct. 12, 2018 | 3 min. read

The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals recently issued a new LGBT Real Estate Report, which examines LGBT homeownership trends and economic impact.

The report showed the LGBT community still finds discrimination a concern. NAGLREP members reported that levels of housing discrimination have increased, with 45 percent saying that a sizeable number of their LGBT clients will experience the same or more housing discrimination this year, compared to previous years.

NAGLREP President and founder Jeff Berger said the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality continues to have a positive impact on real estate.

“We saw a slight increase in the number of members who see more LGBT couples buying homes since the 2015 law allowing same-sex marriage, with 49 percent reporting this,” Berger said. “We’re also seeing the number of members viewing their LGBT clients as move-up buyers vs. downsizers remain steady at a 2:1 ratio, 41 percent versus 20 percent.”

Berger said the organization recognized during its policy summit in April that much of the LGBT research focuses on high-earning, dual-income LGBT couples, but not on the larger pool of the LGBT community that doesn’t have the same financial security.

“We wanted to go a bit deeper and learn from our NAGLREP members what drives first-time LGBT buyers and why others choose to rent,” Berger explained. “It’s clear that there’s a need for increased education about the homebuying and mortgage process to be targeted to the LGBT community.”

Berger said, “It’s interesting to see our members indicated that the LGBT community has a more practical and pragmatic approach to homebuying and doesn’t seem to put as much weight into the more traditional life event drivers that the rest of the housing industry usually cites.”

The survey showed that 40 percent of LGBT homebuyers said their major reason for buying a home was because “they found the right property,” followed by a variety of financial motives.

One detriment to homeownership is where LGBTs traditionally live. Community Marketing & Insights, a leading LGBT research firm, reports 42 percent of gay/bisexual men and 32 percent of lesbian/bisexual women, live in large urban centers.

“It’s not surprising that 59 percent of NAGLREP members surveyed believe the high cost of homeownership in areas where LGBTs live is a major reason when they remain renters,” Berger said.

This aligns with a recent study conducted for Freddie Mac in collaboration with Community Marketing & Insights, which found that only 40 percent of LGBT households are likely to own a home, compared to the national average of 64.3 percent.

Berger said increased education to the LGBT consumer to help them understand financing options available and other resources could increase the number of LGBT homebuyers.

“We’re only scratching the surface on how much of an impact the LGBT community can and will make on the real estate industry,” Berger said. “It’s exciting that NAGLREP and our partners are eager to rid the nation of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, while also working to attract a new group of potential buyers into the market.”

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