NAR: Gay Buyers Aren’t Settled on Single-Family Homes
June 6, 2019
The lesbian, gay, and bisexual community is a growing segment of buyers and sellers who show distinct patterns and behaviors that real estate professionals should be keyed into, according to a new report released by the National Association of REALTORS®, “The 2019 Profile of LGB Buyers and Sellers.”
The National Association of REALTORS® amended its Code of Ethics in 2009 to urge the equal treatment of the LGBT community in home purchases and sales, and has become a strong advocate for greater protections for the LGBT community in the Fair Housing Act. Last month, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which would prohibit all forms of housing discrimination against the LGBT community. NAR, along with several other real estate brokerages and housing groups, have spoken in favor of the bill. Read more: U.S. House Approves Equality Act to Extend LGBT Protections
For example, gay, lesbian, and bisexual buyers are less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to purchase a detached single-family home, the survey found. Instead, they tend to purchase smaller, older homes more often than heterosexuals do. They’re also more likely to purchase a home in an urban area or central city and are more apt to live in a townhouse, duplex, or apartment unit.
Heterosexual buyers and sellers, on the other hand, tend to purchase larger, more expensive, and newer homes. They also tend to be more drawn to the suburbs and subdivisions.
“There are distinct differences between LGB and heterosexual home buyers and sellers,” NAR’s report notes. For example, “LGB buyers and sellers were half as likely to be married couples and more likely to report one-person households.” NAR says separate data points regarding gender identity, including transgender and nonbinary identification, will be included in future studies if the sample is large enough.
The number of American adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender has grown to about 11 million, according to 2018 Gallup estimates. This segment of adults is also showing housing differences within the LGBT population, too. For example, bisexual buyers were more likely to report that they were in single-earner households than other home buyers, even when controlling for age. Both millennials and baby boomers were more likely than other bisexual buyers to be first-time home buyers or single females, and those groups tended to report lower incomes than their counterparts.
Bisexual, lesbian, and gay buyers were more likely to have been motivated to buy a home by a desire to own a home and less likely to purchase a home to be closer to friends, family, or relatives compared with heterosexual buyers, the study found. Bisexual buyers—who tended to skew younger—were also the least likely to say they wanted to buy a larger home, live in a better area, or buy because of retirement. This segment of buyers and sellers, however, was more likely to want to live closer to their job, school, or a transit area, and twice as likely as heterosexual buyers to have purchased a home due to a desire for greater financial security.
Overall, the report said, LGB buyers were more likely to place more importance on affordability and convenience to entertainment and leisure and less importance on convenience to friends and family and the quality of the school district.
The study did not find any significant differences among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual buyers regarding the price of homes they purchase. The typical bisexual buyer did tend to spend less and select less expensive homes. The median purchase prices for the three groups studied: $230,000 for lesbian and gay, $179,000 for bisexual, and $235,000 for heterosexual buyers.
“2019 Profile of LGB Buyers and Sellers,” National Association of REALTORS® (June 6, 2019)
Updated: August 20, 2019