It’s been a little more than 11 years since I signed the paperwork to start the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), and we have since enjoyed a steady climb of growth and awareness.
Today, NAGLREP has nearly 2,000 members and 22 chapters around the nation as one of the largest LGBT trade associations in the U.S. I truly believe a huge reason for our success thus far has been because of the real estate industry’s inclusion of diverse markets.
NAGLREP is thrilled to join with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and other diverse groups in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act during the NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings. Yet as we all applaud the protections from discrimination, you may be shocked to learn that the current Federal Fair Housing Law does not include protection from housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
This is why NAGLREP’s second annual LGBT Housing Policy Summit is so important. We will return to Washington D.C. on April 17-18 at the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Equality Center and continue to work towards a fully inclusive society. Agents and brokers will gather with industry leaders and executives from HUD, NAR, MoveOn.org, HRC, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Freddie Mac, AARP, and our sponsor Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus will also participate before we head to Capitol Hill to meet with our elected officials.
We will discuss, among other topics, how tailwinds the LGBT equality movement recently enjoyed have shifted and how this change might affect real estate. GLAAD recently released the fourth annual Accelerating Acceptance Report that shared some sobering statistics:
- Only 49 percent of the 2,100 adults surveyed identified themselves as LGBT “allies” in 2017, down from 53 percent in 2016.
- Fifty-five percent of LGBTs who participated in the survey said they experienced discrimination last year, compared to 44 percent in 2016.
- A Harris Poll commissioned for the report found that 31 percent were very or somewhat uncomfortable seeing a same-sex couple hold hands, up from 29 percent the previous year.
A downturn of confidence within the LGBT community could have a far-reaching impact on housing by slowing recent mainstream trends of LGBTs marrying, saving money for a down payment, buying a home, starting a family and eventually moving into a larger home. Remember the LGBT community has almost $1 trillion in annual buying power, which is more than other communities, including the Asian American population, according to Witeck Communications.
A lot of this money has been flowing into homes. NAGLREP’s 2017 LGBT Real Estate Report found that nearly 50 percent of our surveyed members reported that their LGBT clients will be move-up buyers over downsizers by an almost three-to-one margin in the near future.
The economic impact is one of the reasons why our industry should continue to work with NAGLREP to fully eradicate housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
We are already way ahead in this area, as Article 10 of NAR’s Code of Ethics was amended in 2014 to add sexual orientation and gender identity.
Trulia just brought the discrimination issue further to the forefront by working with the Movement Advancement Project on its Local Legal Protections feature, which provides an overlay on each property page to showcase if a home is an area which protects LGBTs from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. Remember, only 20 states offer full protection to LGBTs.
Acceptance levels are a big part of why LGBTs choose a community. So many of the 75,000 monthly unique visitors to NAGLREP.com come looking specifically for agents who understand their concerns.
The LGBT Housing Policy Summit will be another incredibly valuable experience for all of us and we hope you will consider attending to make certain our industry’s voice is heard.
Jeff Berger is founder of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP). For more information, please visit www.naglrep.com.
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