Legal protections come at a cost for LGBTQIA+ home shoppers

Legal protections come at a cost for LGBTQIA+ home shoppers

Homes in areas with laws in place to protect LGBTQIA+ buyers from housing discrimination often come at a premium, forcing buyers to choose between affordability and protections.

  • Typical home values in areas with explicit legal protections for the LGBTQIA+ community are about 46% more expensive than areas with no protections.
  • Currently, fewer than half of U.S. states offer statewide laws explicitly prohibiting housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Living in an area with protections may require concessions, and almost all of LGBTQIA+ buyers surveyed (89%) say they made at least one sacrifice to save up for their down payment, such as postponing or canceling health services, or skipping meals.

SEATTLE, June 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — There are a number of decisions to weigh when deciding on a next home, but LGBTQIA+ home shoppers and renters also have to weigh an additional factor: whether they’ll be protected from discrimination in their next neighborhood. Zillow analyzed the typical cost of buying a home in states, cities and counties with laws in place to protect LGBTQIA+ buyers from housing discrimination and found that LGBTQIA+ home shoppers typically pay a premium to live in an area offering these protections.

Even though these protections are now recognized at the federal level by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Congress has not enacted explicit protections, so they can vary significantly locally. States and cities that do not offer explicit protections can often make it feel like an “unwelcome” sign has been posted for LGBTQIA+ homeseekers. And with fewer than half of U.S. states offering statewide laws and protections, the options for LGBTQIA+ buyers are limited1.

“The unfair reality is that finding a home where buyers can feel safe, accepted and protected typically comes at a premium for LGBTQIA+ families,” said Manny Garcia, senior population scientist at Zillow. “Not only are the states with statewide protections often among the most expensive in the country, but in states with an inconsistent patchwork of protections, the areas with those protections also tend to be more expensive.”

Typical home values in jurisdictions with legal protections are about 46% higher than in places without those laws. LGBTQIA+ buyers in Hawaii – where the typical home value is about 180% higher than in U.S. areas with no protections – can expect to pay the highest premium, followed closely by California (148%) and Washington, D.C. (112%).

There are few states that offer protections and also have home values less than those without. Iowa boasts the largest discount, with a typical home value 30% less than one in a state or jurisdiction without protections. Other states in this category include Michigan (-22%), Illinois (-17%), Wisconsin (-7%) and New Mexico (-3%).

The higher housing costs that LGBTQIA+ buyers disproportionately face may explain why LGBTQIA+ adults were more likely to agree that they are worried about the cost of housing in their neighborhoods: 74% agreed, versus 64% of cisgender heterosexual respondents. Even with similar incomes to their cisgender heterosexual counterparts, LGBTQIA+ buyers are more likely to purchase multi-family home types such as duplexes/triplexes or condos, which can offer relatively low-cost options in higher-cost markets.

Affording a home in areas with protections can require making meaningful sacrifices to avoid breaking the bank. According to a Zillow survey of prospective and successful buyers, almost all LGBTQIA+ buyers (89%) reported making at least one sacrifice to save up for their down payment– such as postponing or canceling health services or skipping meals – compared to 78% of cisgender heterosexual buyers.

More work is needed to ensure an equitable housing market for all. For now, every for-sale and rental listing on Zillow displays local legal protections, such as protections for source of income and against LGBTQ discrimination, as well as a single flat-free rental application – a game changer for LGBTQIA+ renters who disproportionately pay more in upfront costs. For homebuyers, Zillow displays locally available down payment assistance programs on all listings to help shoppers find resources to help them qualify for financial help to buy their dream home.

Typical Home Value in States with Statewide Protections for LGBTQIA+


Typical Home

Premium $ (compared to
typical home value in states
without statewide

Premium %
(compared to typical home
value in states without
statewide protections)




180 %




148 %

District of Columbia



112 %




95 %




95 %




85 %




74 %




68 %

New Jersey



57 %

New Hampshire



51 %

New York



47 %

Rhode Island



44 %




40 %




34 %




26 %




25 %




25 %




25 %




16 %




10 %

New Mexico



-3 %




-7 %




-17 %




-22 %




-30 %

*Does not have protections for gender identity/transgender

**Protections do not include Public Accommodation

About Zillow Group
Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z and ZG) is reimagining real estate to make home a reality for more and more people. As the most visited real estate website in the United States, Zillow and its affiliates help people find and get the home they want by connecting them with digital solutions, great partners, and easier buying, selling, financing and renting experiences.

Zillow Group’s affiliates, subsidiaries and brands include Zillow®; Zillow Premier Agent®; Zillow Home Loans℠; Zillow Closing Services℠; Trulia®; Out East®; StreetEasy®; HotPads®; and ShowingTime+, which includes ShowingTime®, Bridge Interactive®, and dotloop®.

All marks herein are owned by MFTB Holdco, Inc., a Zillow affiliate. Zillow Home Loans, LLC is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #10287 ( © 2023 MFTB Holdco, Inc., a Zillow affiliate.

1 States without statewide protections may have  jurisdictions and municipalities offering legal protections against housing discrimination at the hyper-local level. For example, while Texas does not have statewide protections, the city of Austin does.


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