The National Association of REALTORS® announced on Wednesday that it was teaming up with a new nonprofit organization that promotes homeownership and advocates for greater equality in housing for the LGBTQ community. NAR and the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance will work together to identify training opportunities that cultivate LGBTQ leaders and to advocate for federal policies that support this growing segment of home buyers.
“NAR has long championed LGBTQ rights in the housing market, and we’re proud to continue leading today’s industry in the fight against discrimination,” says NAR President Charlie Oppler. “As the nation recognizes Pride Month this June, we’re excited to announce this partnership with the Alliance and begin our work toward initiatives that will provide tremendous benefits to American real estate and our society as a whole.”
The LGBTQ+ Alliance was founded in June 2020 and has chapters throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. The organization advocates on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community in homeownership matters and offers learning and business opportunities to real estate professionals.
“Having the leading trade association in the U.S. as a part of the Alliance is a huge step for our members and the entire LGBTQ community,” says John Thorpe, the Alliance’s national president and board chairman. “NAR has been at the forefront of removing barriers that members of our community may face in the journey to homeownership, including ensuring the REALTOR® community refrains from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.”
In 2011 and 2013, NAR updated its Code of Ethics to ensure REALTORS® upheld housing protections for members of the LGBTQ community. NAR has contributed to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recent work to reform its enforcement of the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Many in the real estate community are unaware that sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected classes under the Fair Housing Act, according to a recent survey from the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, done in partnership with Freddie Mac. Twenty-seven states do not offer any housing protections for the LGBTQ population, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute, a research center tracking sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. Perceived and real threats of discrimination are preventing many members of the LGBTQ community from purchasing a home. Survey respondents shared a range of experiences in facing discrimination, from the renting and homebuying process to the legal and mortgage forms they signed.
The LGBTQ community is estimated to hold the potential for $1 trillion in buying power in the housing market. But that spending power in real estate has yet to be fully unlocked, according to the LGBTQ+ Alliance study. The homeownership rate for the LGBTQ population is 49.8%, which is far below the U.S. average of 65.8%, the report says.
“This partnership between NAR and the Alliance is built on a mutual desire to advance the shared interests of our members, supporting both the Alliance’s mission and NAR’s core values to lead change while advancing diversity and inclusion,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. “NAR will continue to explore partnerships with organizations that share our values and our commitment to private property rights and the American dream of homeownership.”