The $840 Billion Supreme Court Decision

Last week’s landmark Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality for LGBT couples may prove a boon to Austin real estate. Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, said that the LGBT community is "a powerful market segment that represents an estimated buying power of $840 billion." A 2012 study by the Harvard Business Review that looked at more than 20,000 real estate transactions in Ohio in 2000 suggested that gay couples gentrifying neighborhoods could even influence home values.

"The addition of one same-sex couple for every 1,000 households is associated with a 1 percent increase in home prices in U.S. neighborhoods that are socially liberal,” according to the Harvard study. For Austin, this could mean a major boon to real estate as the city boasts a largely liberal population and demand for gentrification of older neighborhoods to increase desireable inventory. As one of the country’s best places for the LGBT community, Austin real estate should expect to see a bump in its already remarkable market.

A recent survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals revealed that 81 percent of nearly 1,800 LGBT respondents recently surveyed felt that "a ruling for marriage equality will make them feel more financially protected and confident." Many whom were surveyed also expressed concerns about renting. Additionally, 59 percent say they plan to have children in the future -- both factors are potential motivators for purchasing a home. Now that marriage equality is a fact in our nation, LGBT couples will likely feel more inclined to purchase together.

"There is no more awkwardness—no more 'joint tenants' or however gay people have had to take titles in order to own," said Summer Greene, a general manager of Better Homes and Gardens Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the National Association of Realtor’s report on the ruling.  "That means less paperwork, and now it's therefore easier to qualify. Before you'd have people committed for 20 years and would have to have two different applications for mortgages, et cetera."


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