LGBTQ Rent Versus Own: Does Marriage Matter?

It has been more than three years since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, paving the way for the continued increase of LGBTQ married couples purchasing homes, according to the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals' second annual LGBT Real Estate Report. NAGLREP, with more than 2,000 members, is one of the nation's largest LGBTQ trade associations.
Forty-nine percent of surveyed NAGLREP members reported an uptick in LGBTQ married couples buying homes since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality on June 26, 2015. This was an increase over 47 percent last year.
And LGBTQ people continue to also have a positive impact on the nation's housing market in other ways. Forty-one percent of surveyed NAGLREP members expect a sizeable number of their LGBTQ clients will "move up" versus downsize (20 percent) in the near future. Additionally, 27 percent of members believe a sizable number of their LGBTQ clients will buy a second home in the near future, with 48 percent anticipating that their LGBTQ clients will soon make a major home renovation.

Rent Verus Own
Although the LGBTQ community is noted as an economic driver, the second annual NAGLREP LGBT Real Estate Report, an online survey of 485 members, shed light on why LGBTQ people are choosing homeownership over renting.
"A discussion at our NAGLREP Housing Policy Summit in April showed that commentary about LGBT homeownership often revolves around two-income couples," said NAGLREP founder Jeff Berger. "And while these couples are buying and moving up, we also wanted to explore the reasons for first-time homeownership within the LGBT community and why others choose to remain renters."

Reasons LGBTQ People Bought First Homes:
Found the right property – 40%
Job stability – 37%
Enough financial stability to earn credit – 33%
Pride of homeownership is greater than renting – 30%
Saved for down payment – 29%
Mortgage payments were comparable to rental fees – 24%
Became comfortable with home buying process – 24%
Home price was affordable – 20%
Became aware of emotional benefits of homeownership – 16%
Recently married – 12%
Recently engaged – 6%

"Home buying and selling decisions are often predicated on such life events as marriage, children, new jobs, death and divorce, yet our members believe LGBTs have a more pragmatic approach based on financial security," Berger said. "It will be interesting to see over time how marriage and engagement drive interest in homeownership along with children, since 62 percent of our members believe the number of LGBT people with kids is increasing since marriage equality."
Berger pointed out that 59 percent of NAGLREP members believe that LGBTQ renters believe they live in an area where the cost of homeownership might be exorbitant.
The NAGLREP study found that financial considerations also largely drive LGBTQ people's decision to remain renters, although it appears there is a need for education and awareness about the home buying and mortgage processes.

Reasons LGBTQ People Remain Renters:
Concerned about financial status – 62%
Believe they live in area where cost of homeownership might be exorbitant – 59%
Concerned about long-term financial stability – 59%
In need of further knowledge about home buying process – 57%
Nervous/fearful about credit/mortgage process – 51%
Unaware of how mortgage payments compare to rental fees – 47%
They are waiting to find "right" partner before buying home – 18%
They are waiting to get married before becoming homeowners – 14%
Recently engaged – 6%

"These findings are eye-opening for us and we hope for all of the real estate community," Berger said. "There are a variety of reasons LGBT people may not be as aware of the emotional and financial benefits of homeownership but we now recognize the need for further, and potentially more targeted, education and enlightenment."


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