Study of Lending Discrimination Against Gay Couples

April 19, 2019
A recent study finds that same-sex couples were 73.12 percent more likely to be denied a mortgage than straight couples with similar profiles, based on mortgage data from 1990 to 2015. 
Photo: Nadine Shaabana/Unsplash

A recent study finds that same-sex couples were 73.12 percent more likely to be denied a mortgage than straight couples with comparable financial profiles, based on mortgage data from 1990 to 2015. 

As well, same-sex couples were charged between 0.02 and 0.2 percent more in upfront fees, interest rates, or both on their home loans, which translates to at least hundreds, if not thousands over the course of the mortgage. “What we found is consistent with [discriminatory] behavior," Hua Sun, a report author and finance professor at Iowa State University tells Realtor.com. While same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015, sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected under the federal Fair Housing Act, but some cities and states have made housing discrimination based on a person's sexuality illegal.

The researchers analyzed data from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Boston Federal Reserve, and Fannie Mae Loan Performance to come up with their findings. They focused on two groups of mortgage applicants: same-gender pairs and male-female pairs.

“It’s very sad to see that even in this day and age there’s still discrimination in the mortgage process after all the strides we’ve made," says Tim Hur, last year's diversity chair of the National Association of Realtors®. He's also a real estate broker at Atlanta-area Point Honors and Associates, Realtors. "Everyone should have the same opportunity to own a home. It doesn't matter if you're gay, lesbian, Asian, black, or Hispanic."

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