Real Estate

Discrimination Still Holding Back LGBT Homeownership: Report

The homeownership rate for LGBT Americans remains far below that of the broader population, according to a new report, which isn’t surprising given that many in the LGBT community have also indicated they’ve experienced some form of housing discrimination.

The report comes from the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance — a trade group for LGBT real estate professionals — and was published Tuesday. Among other things, the report shows that 13.8 percent of surveyed Alliance members have had to sign a real estate form or document that didn’t “adequately represent their life experience.”

Additionally, 10.6 percent of survey respondents said they experienced discrimination from a real estate professional during the renting or buying process; 5.3 percent said a landlord refused to rent to them, and 5.2 percent experienced discrimination from a homeseller.

Meanwhile, less than a quarter of the survey respondents, or 23.4 percent, said they never suffered any instances of discrimination.

The report also includes anecdotal accounts from Alliance members. Among them, Caitlin Jones is quoted as saying that when she and her partner bought their first home, “We were not married and I wasn’t in real estate yet.”

Caitlin Jones

“In Florida there are a couple of ways to take title and our closing attorney would not allow us to do joint tenancy with full right of survivorship, despite that being an available option,” Jones said in the report. “This was blatant discrimination. Every straight non-married couple with whom I work is offered it. But because he perceived that we were two women in a relationship, he wouldn’t do it.”

The report additionally states that roughly one in five transgender adults have faced discrimination while looking for a home.

As a result, many LGBT Americans fear discrimination, and the report concludes that 89.3 percent of the survey respondents “reported that they find it at least somewhat important to live in an LGBTQ+ friendly community.”

Concerns about future housing situations are also common, with 54.2 percent of surveyed Alliance members being concerned about “facing discrimination if they eventually need to live in a senior housing facility.” The percentage jumps up to 71.8 among respondents aged 55 to 64.

Despite these issues, the report argues that LGBT Americans have the potential “for $1 trillion in buying power in the housing market.” But a significant portion of that potential remains untapped; while the homeownership rate in the broader U.S. sits at around 65 percent, the report states that the rate within the LGBT community is only 49 percent.

The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance formed last year amid controversy at the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP). It has since partnered with a variety of real estate companies and organizations while pursuing an agenda to fight discrimination.

The report is based on past research, as well as a survey of about 100 real estate professionals that the Alliance conducted in March.

John Thorpe

In the report, Alliance President John Thorpe added that additional discrimination earlier in life, such as during high school and college, can negatively impact LGBT Americans for years — eventually hurting their careers and even leading “to homelessness.”

“We hope the report provides those working in the real estate industry and beyond with a greater understanding of how discrimination is keeping so many in the LGBTQ+ community from reaching  their full potential,” Thorpe added, “and ultimately becoming homeowners.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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