The majority of LGBT Americans who are renting today would like to own homes, according to a new report, but fear of discrimination remains a major hurdle for many people.
The report comes from the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) and shows that the desire to own a home is widespread. For example, 74 percent of lesbians, 73 percent of gay men, 68 percent of bisexual Americans and 68 percent of gender-expansive Americans would like to own the place where they live.
The desire to stop paying rent to someone else was the top reason those renters gave for wanting to buy a home.
However, despite an apparently widespread dream of homeownership, the report notes that only 49 percent of LBGT Americans actually own their own houses — far lower than the national average of 65 percent.
So what gives?
According to the NAGLREP members who were surveyed, the top reason that interferes with LGBT homeownership is simply people waiting for the right time to buy, followed by lack of funds for a down payment.
However, the third-most cited thing that trips up would-be LGBT homebuyers are concerns about being welcomed in a new community.
Survey respondents also cited fear of discrimination in the buying process as a reason for lower rates of LGBT homeownership.
Those responses suggest that discrimination remains a prevalent issue.
The groups that most fear discrimination include gender-expansive Americans and millennials, the report adds.
Other factors that negatively impact LGBT ownership rates, according to the report, include lack of financial stability, a lack of knowledge about the buying process and a lack of career advancement opportunities.
There are some indications, however, that progress is afoot.
For instance, the report found that 65 percent of LGBT community members believe they live in an LGBT-friendly state. Nearly 80 percent also said their city or town is LGBT friendly, and 74 percent said the same of their neighborhood.
Moreover, a majority of NAGLREP members, or 57 percent, believe that since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage equality in 2015 more married LGBT couples are buying homes. The report additionally shows that “children help drive LGBT homeownership,” with 64 percent of LGBT couples who have kids owning their own houses.
On the other hand, the report also notes that “the concern of not feeling welcomed by residents in the new community jumped to 72 percent verses 64 percent a year ago.” Such a finding suggests that serious stumbling blocks remain, and in some cases may be looming larger.
The report is based on an online survey of 930 NAGLREP members. The organization conducted the survey in February. The report also incorporates research conducted by Freddie Mac.
Other findings from the report shed light on the things that LGBT homebuyers and renters value most when choosing a neighborhood. The most important factor was feeling safe from LGBT harassment, followed by low violent crime rates, neighborhood vibe and anti-discrimination laws.
The report additionally shows that “57 percent of of LGBT people feel positive about their financial situation.”
In a statement accompanying the report, NAGLREP founder Jeff Berger concluded that “choosing where to live is the first step in the journey to homeownership and right away we see the importance of being in an accepting and welcoming community.”
“As LGBT people move from renting to home buying, the right neighborhood remains critical,” Berger added. “But the fear of discrimination also plays an outsized role for the LGBT community with 46 percent of renters fearing it during their future home buying process.”
Read the full report from NAGLREP here.