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Is Marriage Equality a Boon for the Housing Market?

Tuesday Jun 6, 2017
Is Marriage Equality a Boon for the Housing Market?
  (Source:AP )

Jupiter, Fla. (June 6, 2017) - The 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality has paved the way for more LGBT home purchases, according to the 2017 National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) Homeownership Survey. NAGLREP, which has 1500 members, celebrates its 10th anniversary during June's LGBT Pride Month.

The online survey of more than 325 NAGLREP members found that 47% of those surveyed believe more LGBT married couples are buying homes than prior to the decision, while 46% believe the entirety of the LGBT community is more interested in homeownership than prior to the Supreme Court's Obergefell vs. Hodges ruling.

"We firmly believe that when Jim Obergefell won his Supreme Court case, it was the start of a paradigm shift for the LGBT community," said NAGLREP founder Jeff Berger. "The confidence we gained, coupled with society's continued acceptance of the community, is having an impact. Marriage will likely bring more wonderful life events including children, homeownership and a potential increase in suburban living."

Berger cited that 57% of those surveyed reported that LGBTs with children has increased since the marriage equality decision. Interestingly, 29% of the real estate agents felt a sizable number of their LGBT clients would move from urban settings to the suburbs at a higher rate in the coming year compared to the reverse (24%).

Berger also shared that discrimination against the LGBT community remains a concern with 44% of those who responded indicating a sizable number of their LGBT clients would experience the same or worse discrimination than in years past.

"We still have a long way to go to eradicate housing discrimination against our community," Berger said. "NAGLREP fully supported the Equality Act, which was supported by the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, the Human Rights Campaign and 92 major U.S. corporations, when it was unveiled in May. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also joined us in supporting Congressman Scott Taylor's (R-VA) proposed bill, the Fair and Equal Housing Act, to eliminate housing discrimination against the LGBT community. NAR has shared that they will also support the Equality Act."

Other notable findings include:

  • 50% believe a sizeable number of their LGBT clients will become homeowners in the coming year while "move up" buyers (49%) will dwarf downsizers (18%).
  • LGBT homeowners may go on a spending spree with 55% of surveyed agents expecting a sizeable number of their clients will spend more of their discretionary income on their home in the coming year, including new furniture (51%) and smart home technology (50%).
  • 34% of surveyed agents indicated that a sizeable number of their LGBT clients will purchase a second home in the next 12 months.
  • 70% of agents believe the same amount or more of their LGBT clients will look for a new job in the coming year compared to previous years.

    The NAGLREP study also showed that LGBT homebuyers face similar concerns to their non-LGBT counterparts. Those surveyed indicated their LGBT clients are very or extremely concerned with affordability (60%), competition from other buyers (57%) and safety in their new neighborhood (53%). Credit history (31%), likelihood of loan approval (29%) and legal and title ramifications (21%) were of least concern.

    "The higher prices in today's real estate market are largely the result of a lack of supply and increased competition amongst buyers, and clearly the LGBT buyer is aware of this," Berger said. "I do believe the LGBT community should be more aware of the legal and title issues because unmarried couples do not automatically share their same protections."

    NAGLREP fielded the survey in May via Survey Monkey and distributed its members.

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