Since the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality in 2015, the housing market has seen a marked increase in both interest and demand for residential real estate from LGBTQ+ couples who are looking to put down roots, according to the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP). Same-sex couples who are legally married can now purchase property together titled as “tenancy by the entirety,” a legal classification previously only available to a husband and wife, which offers protection from creditors and guarantees that upon the death of one spouse, the survivor is automatically the sole owner of the property.
Recently published in June, LendingTree’s first-ever same-sex couples homeownership report, uses data from the United States Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. The report compares home prices in the states where households occupied by same-sex couples make up the largest — and smallest — share of couple-occupied households. One of the key findings was that 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 with the smallest proportion.
Other key findings shared in the report:
- 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.
- 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.
At the same time one of the major realizations was that several potential problems exist with the data in the Census. It was noted there are very few numbers about same-sex couples in every single state, a lack of historical data and financial data, possibly “holes” in the data, and potentially under-reporting that could skew the information.
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The same states with high home prices are also more accepting of same-sex couples and have laws that protect LGBTQ+ people than queer couples who own homes in states where rights are practically nonexistent, and safety is a real risk., The top 10 states where same-sex couples occupy the most significant share of coupled households are Vermont, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Delaware, Oregon, California, Maine, Nevada, New York, and Washington. South Dakota, North Dakota, and Idaho top the list of the ten states with the least same-sex couple households.