Same-sex couples denied a mortgage nearly 75% more often than heterosexual couples: report

Researchers found no evidence gay couples were higher-risk; findings could suggest those loans “may perform better”
April 19, 2019 11:15AM

Same-sex couples have a harder time getting a loan for a house than opposite-sex counterparts

Same-sex couples have a much harder time securing a mortgage than heterosexual couples.

That’s according to the results of an Iowa State University study of 30 million mortgages originated across the country between 1990 and 2015, Housing Wire reported.

The study found that same-sex couples were 73 percent more likely to be denied a mortgage. Same-sex couples were also charged slightly higher fees. On average, their fees are 0.5 percent higher than heterosexual couples.

Researchers not only found no evidence that same-sex couples were higher-risk borrowers, but the findings “weakly suggest same-sex borrowers may perform better,” than other couples, said Iowa State Assistant Professor of Finance Lei Gao.

Across the country, homebuying has been strong since the Recession, thanks largely to low mortgage rates. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage rose over the last year, and peaked at just under 5 percent in November, sparking concern that the boom was coming to an end. Rates have since fallen back to around 4.3 percent.

The Iowa State study also found that mortgage denials and fees were also higher for heterosexual couples living in neighborhoods with more same-sex residents, according to CNN.

Data constraints prevented researchers from concluding that lending discrimination was definitely happening, but said evidence suggests that is the case, and said more research was needed. The study was based on mortgage applications with two applicants of the same sex, because applications do not ask for sexual orientation.

Federal laws passed in the late 1960s and early ‘70s prohibit creditors such as mortgage lenders, from discriminating against any applicant based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, and age. It does not extend to sexual orientation.

Last month, Facebook announced it would no longer allow housing ads to target users by ZIP code, and will also impose a 15-mile minimum radius for geographic ad targeting.

The decision comes as part of a settlement of five discrimination lawsuits filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Communications Workers of America and others plaintiffs, which will include just under $5 million in payments. Facebook said targeting by age and gender will also be disabled, and the same restrictions will apply to job and lending ads. [HousingWire]Dennis Lynch