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Data: LGBTQ buyers opt for cheaper homes that need ‘TLC’ over pricier digs

As Pride Month sweeps the world, new data is shedding a spotlight on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) real estate trends, which show many new homebuyers choosing fixer-uppers over flashier digs.

The National Association of Realtors’s latest report of LGBTQ buying and selling trends showed that the community’s members tend to purchase older, smaller and less expensive homes than non-LGBTQ buyers. The typical bisexual home buyer or seller was 34, compared to 45 among lesbians and gay men, and 46 among Non-LGBTQs, the association found.

Gay, lesbian and trans buyers “typically had lower household incomes and were more likely to be purchasing more affordable homes,” Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights said in a statement.

Additionally, the NAR found that LGBTQ buyers were way more likely to have bought a house in an urban area or big city, and less likely in smaller towns or rural places.

According to Jeff Berger, a realtor and founder of NAGLREP, an association of LGBTQ real estate agents, “the data makes sense.”

Gay, lesbian and trans buyers are “okay with buying a home that needs a lot of work because they're gonna give it the TLC,” he added.

Heterosexual buyers and sellers, on the other hand, tend to purchase larger, pricer, and newer homes, according to the NAR data. They also tend to be more drawn to small towns or rural areas and live in their new homes longer than LGBTQ buyers.

The study comes at a time when the number of American adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender has grown to about 19 million, according to 2021 Gallup estimates, which showed socioeconomic differences among the LGBTQ population.

For example, bisexuals were more likely to be single-earner households than other home buyers. And they were also much more likely to be first-time home buyers (61%) or first-time home sellers (50%) than other groups.

The LGBTQ community is estimated to hold the potential for $1 trillion in buying power in the housing market. Yet that spending power hasn’t entirely been unlocked in terms of real estate.

A Freddie Mac study released shows homeownership rates for the LGBTQ population to be 49.8%, which is far below the U.S. average of 65.8%.

“It’s parsing through the discrimination,” Berger explained. “As equality takes a turn for the better, LGBTs will be more confident with home ownership. Berger added that he believes there will be less discrimination, and more room for LGBT homeownership ratios to rise.

The NAR study showed significant differences among lesbian, gay and heterosexual buyers regarding the price of homes they purchase.

Respondents who identified as bisexual tended to spend less on a home, regardless of age. The media purchase prices for these three groups were $250,000 for lesbians and gays, $210,000 for bisexuals, and $268,000 for heterosexual buyers.

“It’s parallel to what’s going on with the market now, prices have risen a lot,” Berger said.

Overall, LGBTQ buyers were less concerned about the proximity to quality of schools, convenience to health facilities, the data revealed. They placed more importance on affordability and convenience to entertainment and leisure.