I am so fortunate to travel often and attend many real estate industry events on behalf of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), which has grown to about 2,000 members and 22 chapters nationwide.
I believe our rise has been largely because of the inclusive nature of the real estate industry, which is why the response I receive at Inman Connect and others is so genuine and positive.
I routinely share NAGLREP’s role in advocacy and our work to eradicate housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I also showcase why NAGLREP.com receives more than 75,000 monthly unique visitors and how the overwhelming majority are searching for LGBT community members and “allies” to assist with their housing needs.
The previously unimagined acceptance levels of the LGBT community, headlined by marriage equality, have been staggering. And the real estate industry has definitely benefited.
Where do LGBT families and individuals live?
We recently shared our LGBT Real Estate Report, which showcased how the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling has impacted real estate sales.
It was interesting to see that nearly 50 percent of our surveyed members reported that their LGBT clients will be move-up buyers over down-sizers by an almost three-to-one margin in the near future.
We also saw that marriage and children were having an impact, just as they do with heterosexual couples. Findings from last year’s LGBT Community Survey of more than 17,000 U.S. LGBT individuals by Community Marketing & Insights (CMI), an LGBT-focused research firm based in San Francisco, provided further insight.
Lesbians and bisexual woman outpaced gay and bisexual men in being married (39 percent to 26 percent) and having children under 18 living at home. Incredibly, about half of all LGBT millennials stated they have a desire to have children in the future.
This may have a major impact on where LGBT individuals will live. Based on a greater propensity to marry and have kids, it should come as no surprise that the lesbian and female bisexuals have a greater affinity for medium-sized cities, suburbs and small towns than the men.
It’s important to note that those surveyed reported that cities are far more “LGBT friendly” than suburbs and small towns/rural locations, 95 percent, 78 percent, 54 percent, respectively. The hope is that as society becomes more and more inclusive, suburbs and small-town America will be on par with our urban centers in welcoming the LGBT community.
The LGBT community and your business
How and where we live is also predicated on the amount of money we make. LGBT individuals are no different, and 51 percent of those surveyed said they are doing better than most financially.
This likely is the reason that 10 percent report in the past year they did a major home renovation with an additional 7 percent reporting buying a new primary residence.
While economically, the LGBT community is a force, 82 percent fear a loss of recent civil rights gains. This is likely why 63 percent, up dramatically from the previous year, reported they have or will attend a local pride event, and 77 percent will do more business with companies that support LGBT equality.
It, therefore, becomes imperative that if you have a desire to engage with your local LGBT community that you be “all-in.”
Remember, NAGLREP, like so many of the other LGBT community groups, welcome “allies” who will gain a unique perspective while their support and understanding is so appreciated. These newfound relationships obviously can fuel business opportunities.
Once established, the place to reach the LGBT community appears to be at pride and other events, along with LGBT websites and blogs. The CMI report found that more than 40 percent of responders increased their visits last year to these outlets, far more than newspapers and magazines.
Over the course of the year, I will share much more information on LGBT housing trends, how we can help the LGBT community in their housing decisions and how to best reach this largely affluent community.