‘I can’t win in this market’: LGBTQ homebuyers say mortgage rates hitting them especially hard

Scandar Mrid, shown here on vacation in Italy, is looking for a home in the Los Angeles area.

Last year when Skander Mrid decided to buy his first home, his top priority was location.

A gay man living in the Los Angeles area, Mrid has spent most of his adult life working several hours a day for his job at the NASA Jet P.ROpulson Lab in Pasadena, Calif. When he found an apartment close to work, he saw a huge improvement in his life.

Mrid said, “That trip tore me apart. Mentally and physically, I saw that I was deteriorating.”

However, his roommate moved out, and Marad, 40, decided it was time to become a housekeeper. He originally wanted to stay within five miles of his job, but quickly found that this might not be realistic in an ultra-competitive market.

“It was so strange for me to see a line of people waiting outside an open house to come in. I couldn’t believe there was so much demand. … I didn’t know what I was doing myself ,” said Marad.

They began looking for homes earlier this year, and that five-mile radius soon expanded to 30 miles. At the same time, the Federal Reserve began raising its benchmark interest rate, leading to higher mortgage rates. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage jumped 5.78% in the week of June 16, its biggest one-week jump since 1987.

This has led to a rapid change in the payment Marad may have to pay. Mrid, who is looking at smaller single-family homes and condos, said they’ve seen potential monthly payments on similar properties increase by more than $500 a month since the start of their search process.

Even with those high rates, competition has been fierce. In May, Marad said he bid more than $600,000 for the property listed for $575,000. The winning bid then came in at $650,000.

“I can’t win in this market. There’s no way out,” said Mrid.


Mrid’s disappointment is shared by many potential home buyers across the country over the past two years. Home prices surged, starting in 2020, as stimulus from Congress and the Federal Reserve sparked a work-from-home boom.

This rapid rise in home costs is particularly impressive for the LGBTQ community, which is less likely to own a home. First time home buyers have to pay higher prices without getting boosted by the selling price of their existing property.

according to Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, 50% of LGBTQ adults and 64% of LGBTQ couples own homes. For non-LGBTQ groups, those numbers are 70% and 75%.

Historical data on home ownership rates by sexuality was not tracked by the Census Bureau, but surveys from the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance show that home ownership for couples and singles in the community has been on trend ever since. The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. zillow informed of LGBT people accounted for 12% of homebuyers in 2021, up from 7% in 2019.

Some real estate firms have launched initiatives to help this growing group with the homebuying process, such as Keller Williams from KW Rainbow Network.

Alliance CEO Ryan Weyndt said President Joe Biden’s executive order that provided comprehensive protection Against discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation has also increased confidence for buyers. But, he said, the existing home-ownership gap has put the community at a disadvantage.

“I think it’s an unfortunate reality that we’re probably going to be disproportionately impacted by higher costs, if not ban everyone from buying together,” Weyndt said.

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, following his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America, on January 20, 2021.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

Discrimination, during or long before the sales process, can also prevent LGBTQ people from becoming homeowners. Studies show that LGBTQ people are more likely to experience homelessness during their youth, according to the Williams Institute.

Housing instability and other forms of discrimination leave LGBTQ people behind financially and in school, accelerating the climb to home ownership.

“It’s an ugly connected line of dominoes, starting all the way at age 15-16 and impacting your ability to own a home in your 30s,” Weyndt said.

Location can also act as a deterrent for home buyers in the community. Zillow. research from indicates that LGBTQ households are more likely to live in urban areas than their cisgender peers, and homes in areas that explicitly offer anti-discrimination protections may be $127,000 more expensive.

Christopher Hawk, a 23-year-old music producer in Orlando, said he’s been shopping for homes in the Los Angeles area with a friend after growing up in a religious family in central New York and Florida because he wants to live in a more acceptable one. region.

“I couldn’t relate to most of the community. I always felt lonely. It was like ‘Oh, that gay kid.’ They all knew me as the ‘gay kid,'” Hawke said. “… I don’t think it’s my responsibility to do it for the rest of my life.”

what will happen next

Federal Reserve on Wednesday Indicated to increase rates even more in 2022Which can further reduce the demand.

Mrid said that his mother offered him to stay with her for some time until the market cools down, but his home is far from his job.

“I’ve visited my mom after work, and it’s a minimum two-hour drive,” he said. “And even just a one-time drive to him, I go over there and I collapse on the couch. I’m exhausted, I have road rage, I don’t have the energy to do anything.” I can’t imagine doing this habitually on a daily basis.”

Mrid said he is using his retirement savings to increase his purchasing power, or potentially working with his sister to buy a duplex. Meanwhile, the potential cooldown in the housing market has not yet subsided to its day-to-day exploration.

“I don’t see that. I’ve seen the houses [recently] And there are still queues outside people waiting to watch the open houses. If the data is nationwide, it’s skewed because that’s certainly not what we’re seeing in Los Angeles,” Mrid said.