It’s Pride Month, and while the LGBTQ community is gaining more acceptance on some legal fronts, its members continue to report high levels of fear over discrimination in housing, according to a newly released report from the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals and Freddie Mac.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community is less likely to be homeowners than heterosexuals of comparable demographics. Forty-nine percent of LGBTQ adults are homeowners, compared with nearly 65% of heterosexuals.
However, most gay renters say they want to become homeowners, but nearly half worry they’ll be discriminated against during the homebuying process. Transgender and lesbian buyers express the most worry over being discriminated against. A chief concern is not being accepted by neighbors, the survey shows.
In May 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which proposes adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes and seeks to ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in areas like housing, credit, employment, public services, education, and more. The bill remains stagnant in the U.S. Senate.
The National Association of REALTORS® a decade ago added sexual orientation as a protected class in the Code of Ethics with regard to equality in housing opportunities and professional services and further amended the Code in 2014 to include gender identity.
NAGLREP points to several reasons behind the LGBTQ community’s discrimination concerns in housing. Gay couples are 73% more likely to be denied a mortgage than straight couples, according to a separate 2019 study from Iowa State University. Those who do get a mortgage tend to pay slightly more in fees and interest, the study showed.
Many from the LGBTQ community say they leave their hometowns to find a more welcoming community. Only about 32% remained in the same location where they attended high school compared to 72% of the general population, the NAGLREP study finds. About 31% of the LGBTQ community say they live in towns and neighborhoods that they would describe as “gay friendly.”
A top priority faced by the LGBTQ community in homeownership is finding a safe community where its members don’t feel concerned about facing harassment.
About 4.5% of the population is estimated to be part of the LGBTQ community.