BAM Key Details:
- New survey data from Realtor.com® reveals a homeownership gap between LGBTQ+ and BIPOC buyers and white, non-LGBTQ+ buyers, with the former paying more of their income on housing costs than the latter.
- Because down payment assistance can help make homeownership more affordable, Realtor.com has partnered with the Homeownership Council of America (HCA) to make this assistance more widely known and accessible to those who need it.
April is Fair Housing Month! And new survey data from Realtor.com® is shining a light on a homeownership gap between LGBTQ+ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) buyers and white and non-LGBTQ+ buyers.
The data show the former are spending more of their income on housing costs than the latter.
Down payment assistance helps to reduce upfront costs, making homeownership more accessible to those who struggle to save money in today’s economy. But while over 5 million Americans qualify for this assistance, only 3-4% take advantage.
So, what can you do to raise awareness and help more people in your community become homeowners?
Smaller down payments, loan denials, and higher home costs
Realtor.com® ’s data reveals LGBTQ+ and BIPOC buyers are both more likely to make smaller down payments on a home, with 65% paying 20% or less of a home’s purchase price, compared to 53% of white, non-LGBTQ+ buyers.
Both marginalized groups were also almost 9% more likely to pay over asking to get their offer accepted, with 86% paying more than the asking price, compared to 79% of white, non-LGBTQ+ buyers.
Smaller down payments on top of over-asking home prices generally mean a higher mortgage rate and monthly mortgage payments, meaning these buyers are paying a larger share of their household income on housing costs than white, non-LGBTQ+ buyers.
And considering a higher percentage of these demographics are also in lower income groups, the extra burden on their income is especially challenging.
Also, both LGBTQ+ and BIPOC buyers have a harder time qualifying for mortgage loans and are 1.7 times more likely to have been denied loans 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. 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, but only 3-4% take advantage
To help address this homeownership gap in America, Realtor.com® partnered with the Homeownership Council of America last year to donate and raise funds for HCA’s Equity Down Payment Assistance Fund, which makes homeownership more accessible for BIPOC and low-to-moderate income home buyers.
Since its inception, this fund has already helped several disadvantaged buyers purchase a home. Realtor.com shares some of these stories on their website at Realtor.com/fairhousing.
According to the Urban Institute, 5.37 million Americans qualify for down payment assistance. But data from the National Association of Realtors® reveals only 3-4% of recent home buyers have availed themselves of this resource when buying a home.
Realtor.com® means to address the homeownership gap by raising awareness of down payment assistance programs, as well as other tools and resources that make homeownership more accessible and affordable for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ buyers.
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. 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.
For example, all for-sale home listings on Realtor.com® include information about down payment assistance in the Monthly Payment section.
This tool, also available at Realtor.com/fairhousing, provides information on more than 2,000 programs, so consumers can easily find available assistance programs—local, state, or national—by sharing some basic information.
Functionality for this tool is provided by Down Payment Resource, whose technology matches home buyers with assistance programs that meet their individual needs.
To learn more about down payment assistance programs and other Fair Housing tools and resources, visit Realtor.com/fairhousing.
Top takeaways for real estate agents
Even if your typical client doesn’t qualify for down payment assistance, many in your community likely do. And if you can help more of them become homeowners—with a monthly payment they can afford—they’re more likely to become future clients or to send other homeowners and buyers in your direction.
Even if they don’t, your clients shouldn’t be the only people in your community who benefit from your living there.