Paying the Price: Realtor.com® finds LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Buyers Spend More of Their Income to Own a Home
Housing affordability remains near all-time lows and is a challenge for many homebuyers. According to new survey data from Realtor.com®, recent LGBTQ+ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) buyers are going into homeownership weighed down and more burdened by housing costs than white and non-LGBTQ+ individuals.
Lower down payment, higher sales price and loan denials creates cost crunch for communities challenged by lower incomes
April is Fair Housing Month and it creates an opportunity to shine a light on the need to create more equitable housing opportunities and access for all individuals. Realtor.com®‘s data shows that LGBTQ+ and BIPOC buyers are more likely to put smaller down payments on a home, with nearly two-thirds (65%) putting down 20% or less of a home’s purchase price when buying compared to about half (53%) of white, non-LGBTQ+ buyers. LGBTQ+ and BIPOC buyers were also nearly 9% more likely to pay over a home’s asking price to get their offer accepted – 86% paid over asking compared to 79% of white and non-LGBTQ+ individuals.
A smaller down payment on top of an above-asking home price generally equates to a higher interest rate and monthly mortgage payment, and that means LGBTQ+ and BIPOC buyers are likely to pay a larger share of their income toward housing than other buyers. That’s especially challenging for budgets, as a higher percentage of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC homebuyers were also more likely to fall into lower income groups than white and non-LGBTQ+ buyers. Realtor.com®also found that LGBTQ+ and BIPOC buyers face challenges during the mortgage process, and are 1.7 times more likely to have been denied mortgages two or more times.
“More Americans than ever before are stretched thin because of the growing housing cost burden, but our data shows that LGBTQ+ and BIPOC buyers are potentially spending even more of their income to own a home of their own, which can make it difficult to afford other essentials like food and transportation and creates even greater inequalities,” said Laura Eddy, Realtor.com® vice president, Research and Insights. “With the rising costs of homeownership taking a greater toll on budgets, resources like down payment assistance can help reduce the overall financial burden of buying a home and make it more accessible to a wider range of individuals.”
Down payment assistance helps reduce upfront costs of buying a home
To help address the homeownership disparity in America, Realtor.com® teamed up last year with the Homeownership Council of America to donate to and raise funds for HCA’s Equity Down Payment Assistance Fund, which helps make owning a home more accessible for BIPOC and low-to moderate-income homebuyers. Since its inception, the Equity Down Payment Assistance Fund has already helped several buyers close on a home, including Jose, a Mexican-American from the Los Angeles area. Jose is a first-generation homeowner and is proud and excited to be celebrating the magic of many “first” experiences, like celebrating the holidays with his daughter for the first time in their own home.
“I believe there is a huge problem with the homeownership gap and the effects of those gaps go on for generations,” said Jose. “Being the first one in my family to purchase a home is definitely a proud moment – I get choked up thinking about it, because my parents came to this country with a dream. Having a home of my own felt like freedom.”
There are 5.37 million Americans who qualify for down payment assistance, according to the Urban Institute, but data from the National Association of Realtors® shows only 3–4% of recent homebuyers have taken advantage of these programs when buying a home. Realtor.com® aims to raise awareness of down payment assistance programs and other tools to help address the homeownership disparity in America.
“At Realtor.com®, we believe the dream of homeownership should be achievable by all, but inequality and a history of discriminatory housing policies have made it harder for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals to overcome housing hurdles, and since housing is a predominant way to build wealth, that’s led to a significant wealth gap across generations,” said Mickey Neuberger, CMO, Realtor.com®. “Reducing unfair housing cost burdens and giving greater access to communities who have been locked out of homeownership opportunities can help address that gap, and it’s why we’re joining forces with others in the industry and bringing new tools and resources to more individuals to help lift their financial strain.”
To increase awareness of down payment assistance programs and make them more accessible to shoppers, all for-sale home listings on Realtor.com® now include information about down payment assistance under the Monthly Payment section. The tool, also available at Realtor.com/fairhousing, puts information about more than 2,000 programs right at consumers’ fingertips, so they can quickly and easily find available local, state or national programs by sharing some basic information. The tool’s functionality is provided by Down Payment Resource, whose technology matches buyers with assistance programs that meet their individual home buying needs.
To watch a video about Jose’s home journey, search for down payment assistance programs, and find more Fair Housing tools and resources from Realtor.com®, visit Realtor.com/fairhousing.