Homes In States With The Highest Share Of Same-Sex Couple Households Cost $116,000 More On Average

Real Estate

June marks the annual observation of LGBTQI+ Pride Month, a month honoring those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex. To commemorate the occasion, online loan marketplace LendingTree analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey data to compare home prices in the states where households occupied by same-sex couples make up the largest and smallest share of couple-occupied households.

The fight for stable housing has been a long and winding road for LGBTQ+ individuals. In fact, housing discrimination protections weren’t extended to LGBTQ+ Americans until last year, some 54 years after the sweeping Fair Housing Act was passed.

While households occupied by same-sex couples make up a small portion of couple-occupied households in each state, median home values in the 10 states with the highest proportion of same-sex couple households are $116,730 more expensive, on average, than homes in the 10 states with the smallest proportion.

“On the surface, this data paints a somewhat bleak picture for same-sex couples looking to buy a home, but there may be ways to cope with this,” said Jacob Channel, senior economic analyst at LendingTree. “For example, Census Bureau research indicates same-sex couples tend to earn as much as — if not more than — opposite-sex couples. This could mean same-sex couples might still be able to keep up with their payments, even if they receive higher-cost loans.”

Key findings

  • Vermont, Massachusetts and New Mexico have the largest share of households occupied by same-sex couples relative to couple-occupied households. Across these states, an average of 2.072% of couple-occupied households are occupied by same-sex couples.
  • South Dakota, North Dakota and Idaho have the smallest share of households occupied by same-sex couples relative to couple-occupied households. An average of 0.758% of households occupied by couples in these states are occupied by same-sex couples.
  • In the 10 states where households occupied by same-sex couples make up the largest share of couple-occupied households, median home values are an average of $116,730 more than in the 10 states where same-sex couple households are least common.
  • Though median home values tend to be higher in states with larger shares of same-sex couple households, there are exceptions. For example, the median home value in New Mexico — the state with the third-highest share of same-sex couple households — is $175,700. That’s nearly $60,000 less than the median home value of $235,600 in Idaho, which is tied for the second-smallest share of same-sex couple households.

States where same-sex couples occupy the largest share of couple-occupied households

1: Vermont

  • Number of households occupied by couples: 147,093
  • Number of households occupied by opposite-sex couples: 144,031
  • Number of households occupied by same-sex couples: 3,062
  • Percentage of households occupied by same-sex couples: 2.082%
  • Median home value: $230,900

2: Massachusetts

  • Number of households occupied by couples: 1,426,409
  • Number of households occupied by opposite-sex couples: 1,396,874
  • Number of households occupied by same-sex couples: 29,535
  • Percentage of households occupied by same-sex couples: 2.071%
  • Median home value: $398,800

3: New Mexico

  • Number of households occupied by couples: 403,402
  • Number of households occupied by opposite-sex couples: 395,075
  • Number of households occupied by same-sex couples: 8,327
  • Percentage of households occupied by same-sex couples: 2.064%
  • Median home value: $175,700

States where same-sex couples occupy the smallest share of couple-occupied households

1: South Dakota

  • Number of households occupied by couples: 194,668
  • Number of households occupied by opposite-sex couples: 193,254
  • Number of households occupied by same-sex couples: 1,414
  • Percentage of households occupied by same-sex couples: 0.726%
  • Median home value: $174,600

2 (tie): North Dakota

  • Number of households occupied by couples: 175,474
  • Number of households occupied by opposite-sex couples: 174,115
  • Number of households occupied by same-sex couples: 1,359
  • Percentage of households occupied by same-sex couples: 0.774%
  • Median home value: $199,900

2 (tie): Idaho

  • Number of households occupied by couples: 395,924
  • Number of households occupied by opposite-sex couples: 392,861
  • Number of households occupied by same-sex couples: 3,063
  • Percentage of households occupied by same-sex couples: 0.774%
  • Median home value: $235,600

“Our study shows same-sex couples are more likely to live in states with higher home prices,” said Channel. “Plus, there’s research that indicates same-sex couples are more likely to have their mortgage applications denied or receive higher interest rates than opposite-sex couples.”

He added, “Not only may same-sex couples need to take out larger loans to afford homes in the states in which they’re most likely to live, but they may also need to shell out considerably more money in interest due to higher rates — that’s troubling.”

Channel said it’s difficult to say just how reliable the data is, given there’s relatively little research on the finances of same-sex couples. He explained, “It’s possible the data that exists could be skewed, as not everyone in same-sex relationships feels comfortable identifying themselves as such, and that same-sex couples who earn higher incomes may feel more secure self-identifying than couples who earn less.”

“Owing to both a lack of data and potential sampling biases, the overall financial state of same-sex couples appears complicated,” explained Channel. “At the moment, different data sources provide conflicting information that make it difficult to pin down how people in same-sex relationships might fare in the broader housing market. As a result, more research into this topic — as well as more research into the overall finances of the broader LGBTQI+ community — is necessary before any concrete conclusions can be drawn.

It’s illegal for lenders to discriminate based on borrowers’ sexual orientation or gender identity. If you think you’ve been the victim of discrimination, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB or your local housing authority to figure out your options.

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