In 2019, an openly gay and married man is a surprise contender for a major-party presidential nomination. Same-sex couples who want to make a life together, however, could be paying extra for the privilege of owning a home.
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Researchers at Iowa State University have just released a study looking at decades of data, from 1990 to 2015, on national mortgage trends. Embedded within those numbers are countless stories of discrimination. Same sex-couples were 73 percent more likely to be denied a mortgage than heterosexual couples. They also paid more in interest and fees, to the tune of $86 million each year.
Lenders may institute higher fees for certain mortgages based on how risky they determine applicants to be. However, the Iowa State researchers "found no evidence that same-sex couples had a higher default risk." In other words, your sexuality has no bearing on your creditworthiness.
This story repeats itself in multiple communities and at multiple intersections of communities. In January, researchers at Penn State found that minorities who seek mortgages often pay about 8 percent more in fees than white borrowers when their mortgage broker is white. Queer Americans are already far less likely to own a home than the national average, which ties closely into poverty rates for queer people overall.
If you and your partner think you're facing an unfair disadvantage in your search for the right home, get in touch with lawyers or advocacy groups, such as Lambda Legal. Buying a home is a true pain in the neck, and everyone deserves to have a piece of that.