LGBT1 home-buyers and renters must pay a premium to live in states, cities and counties that offer legal protection from discrimination. While it is unlikely that legal protections for LGBT people increase home values, the fact that these jurisdictions are more expensive has a disproportionate impact on LGBT buyers and renters who aspire to live there.
To identify price differences across regions with and without local legal protections, Zillow® analyzed the typical cost of buying a home in states, cities and counties that have laws in place to protect LGBT buyers from housing discrimination. Protections include being evicted, denied housing, or refused the ability to rent or buy housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While these premiums pertain to buyers, LGBT renters also feel the effects — given that high home values generally correlate with high rents.
National housing and employment non-discrimination laws protect classes such as sex, race, age, color, religion, and national origin. The Supreme Court on Monday affirmed job protections for people who identify as LGBT, but explicit protections against housing discrimination do not exist at the federal level, and vary significantly based on local jurisdictions. Currently, only twenty-two U.S. states and the District of Columbia offer statewide laws explicitly prohibiting housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Typical home values in those jurisdictions with legal protections are about $127,000 higher than home values in places without those laws — about $328,575 compared to $201,462. Many of these jurisdictions also offer the LGBT community legal protections beyond housing, including employment and public accommodation protections. While it’s not the specific legal protections bumping up home values in these states, those who identify as LGBT, among other buyers and renters, are paying more to buy or rent in areas that offer protections through anti-discriminatory policies.
LGBT buyers in Hawaii, Washington, D.C., and California can expect to pay the biggest premium to live in an area with those protections. Home values in Hawaii are about 219% higher than the typical home values in areas with no protections. Washington, D.C., is a close second at 218% higher, followed by California at 187%. Iowa is the only state with explicit protections for LGBT homebuyers where the typical home costs less than in places without protections — 23% less. More than 70% of LGBT buyers report making at least one sacrifice to stay at or below budget, compared to 58% of cisgender heterosexual buyers, according to data gathered for Zillow’s 2019 Consumer Housing Trends Report, and the 2020 edition scheduled to be released later this year. Such sacrifices include buying a home in worse condition, without desired finishes, and smaller than initially planned.
States without anti-discrimination laws for the LGBT community often have cities and counties that do provide legal protections, but those still largely come at a premium. For example, Austin, Texas, has local regulations protecting LGBT homebuyers from housing discrimination. The typical home value in Austin is $401,999 — 90.3% higher than the state overall, and 99.5% higher than the nation in areas without protections.
“In addition to providing legal protections, there are other steps local and state governments can take to create housing markets that are more inclusive and accessible for LGBT people,” said Skylar Olsen, senior principal economist at Zillow. “We know LGBT buyers — especially LGBT buyers of color — are more likely to purchase affordable home types such as condos and townhomes. More local governments should work to allow more of these types of homes, opening up areas and neighborhoods that historically priced out many LGBT buyers. Legal protections for LGBT become more meaningful when people can afford to access them.”
While LGBT buyers and renters have similar incomes to their cisgender heterosexual counterparts, LGBT people as a whole are slightly more likely to have incomes below $24,000 (25%) compared to cisgender heterosexual people (18%) according to the Williams Institute at UCLA2 — indicating that LGBT people could also be disproportionately excluded from formal renting and homeownership.
Zillow strives to use data and research to empower people — customers, policymakers, government agencies, industry professionals and academics — to better understand the housing market and make more informed decisions. Learn more about our research, education and advocacy at ZillowGroup.com. And watch for Zillow’s LGBT Legal Protections Tool launching next week.
Typical Home Value in States with Statewide Protections for LBGT
Typical Home Value
(compared to typical home value in
states without statewide protections)
*Does not have protections for gender identity/transgender
**Protections do not include Public Accommodation
For further information: Haley Johnson, Zillow, email@example.com