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Record home prices and rising mortgage rates have made homeownership a daunting task for the majority of Americans; however, a new Redfin survey of 5,000 buyers and rentes shows weak familial support, student loan debt, wage and anti-LGBTQ discrimination create an immensely tougher path for LGBTQ+ consumers.
LGBTQ+ renters (23.5 percent) were 67 percent more likely than heterosexual renters (14 percent) to pause homebuying due to a lack of support from family and friends, and they were 61 percent more likely to say student loan debt has stopped them from buying a home (18.4 percent vs. 11.4 percent).
LGBTQ renters also reported having more difficulty than their non-LGBTQ counterparts with navigating home affordability (51.2 percent vs. 43.1 percent) and saving for a down payment (44.9 percent vs. 35.7 percent).
“Young people are often rewarded financially for fulfilling heteronormative expectations around getting married and having kids,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said in a written statement on Wednesday. “For example, it’s common for a bride and groom to receive thousands of dollars in cash gifts when they get married, which they can put toward buying or renovating a home. LGBTQ+ couples, on the other hand, often get married later in life, and may not receive financial support if they’ve been shut out by their families.”
LGBTQ+ renters’ outsized struggle with affordability stems from wage discrimination, the report said, as LGBTQ+ workers earn 90 cents for every dollar their heterosexual colleagues earn.
To afford a down payment, LGBTQ+ respondents were more likely to work a second job (29.1 percent) than non-LGBTQ+ respondents (18.3 percent). They were also more likely to sell stock investments (18.5 percent vs. 13.8 percent), cryptocurrency investments (14.8 percent vs. 8.5 percent), and save directly from paychecks (46.6 percent vs. 36.5 percent) to pad their down payments.
Beyond finances, LGBTQ+ renters and homebuyers said state politics is a major factor in their housing decisions. Redfin said LGBTQ+ respondents were more likely than heterosexual respondents to say living in states with laws protecting sexual and gender equality, racial diversity, strong gun control laws and legal abortion were “a must.”
LGBTQ+ respondents (37.9 percent) were 56 percent more likely than non-LGBTQ respondents (16.3 percent) to say they’d only live in a place that has strong laws against gender or sexual orientation-based discrimination.
LGBTQ+ renters and buyers were three times as likely to say they’d only live somewhere with laws allowing discussion of LGBTQ topics in schools (33 percent vs. 10.4 percent), and more than 25 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents (25.9 percent) said they would only live in a place where gender-affirming care for children is fully legal, versus 11 percent of heterosexual respondents.
“At a time when LGBTQ+ rights are becoming increasingly restricted, it’s not surprising that many LGBTQ+ Americans only want to live in places with legal protections,” the report read. “Lawmakers in 37 states have introduced at least 142 bills to limit gender-affirming healthcare this year, and 21 states now ban abortion or restrict it earlier in pregnancy than the standard set by Roe v. Wade.”
“In April, Florida expanded its so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bars lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation in the classroom,” it added.
Despite these challenges, LGBTQ+ renters still have a stronger desire to become homeowners — LGBTQ+ renters were 34 percent less likely (13.2 percent) than heterosexual renters (20.1 percent) to say they weren’t interested in owning a home.