The LGBTQ community—a homebuying cohort of 19 million in the U.S.—is showing distinct purchase patterns: Many move more frequently than other buyers and are drawn to older, smaller homes, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2021 Profile of LGBTQ Home Buyers and Sellers. The trends identified in the report are based on aggregate data and medians and may not reflect the individual experiences of the diverse LGBTQ population.
“Understanding how buyers navigate the housing market is essential to REALTORS®,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. “This report details the impact of the housing affordability challenges on LGBTQ buyers, who typically had lower household incomes and were more likely to be purchasing more affordable homes.”
NAR's report serves as a reminder that real estate professionals owe an equal duty of care and service to all clients. “All REALTORS® are obligated by NAR’s Code of Ethics to provide equal professional service without discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” says NAR President Charlie Oppler. “As we recognize Pride Month and Homeownership Month this June, it’s important to continue the pursuit of equal housing opportunities for everyone. Our communities are stronger when we are more inclusive.”
Here are some highlights from this year’s report:
- They’re less experienced in the market. LGBTQ buyers and sellers are more likely than others to be first-timers. While most of them are married or coupled, there’s a higher percentage of single buyers and sellers in the LGBTQ community than in the overall housing market. Single men and women make up 37% of LGBTQ buyers and sellers, while 39% are married couples and 21% are unmarried couples. Those who identify as bisexual are more likely than others in the LGBTQ community to be young first-time home buyers or sellers. Bisexuals also were more likely to report single-income households than other home buyers.
- They’re not targeting luxury homes. LGBTQ home buyers are more likely to purchase cheaper houses than other buyers. The median price of homes purchased by LGBTQ buyers is $245,000 compared to $268,000 for non-LGBTQ buyers. Bisexual buyers tended to spend much less than other groups—$210,000, according to the study. Over the past five years, LGBTQ buyers bought homes that were an average of 170 square feet smaller and 15 years older than those non-LGBTQ buyers purchased.
- They plan to move sooner. LGBTQ buyers and sellers may be less likely to put down long-term roots, saying they expect to spend 10 years in a home. That's five years less than non-LGBTQ buyers’ expectations.
- They’re more likely to purchase in urban areas. LGBTQ buyers are more likely to have purchased in cities than in small towns or rural areas. But they also are drawn to suburbs and subdivisions. When considering location, LGBTQ home shoppers say the three most important aspects are the quality of the neighborhood, the convenience to their job, and the overall affordability. LGBTQ buyers were less concerned about convenience to friends and family compared to non-LGBTQ buyers. They also placed more importance on convenience to entertainment and leisure and proximity to a veterinarian. Additionally, LGBTQ buyers were less likely to value the quality of schools, convenience to health facilities, and lot sizes than other buyers.