Study: Gay Couples Lift Real Estate Prices in Liberal Neighborhoods, Dampen Them in Conservative Ones

Gay couples have a negative impact on housing prices in conservative neighborhoods and a positive impact on them in liberal neighborhoods, according to a new study:

HouseA controversial new study suggests that in neighbourhoods where extreme conservatism prevails, the presence of one more same-sex couple for every 1,000 households is linked to a one per cent drop in housing prices. In liberal neighbourhoods, by contrast, researchers find the associated effect of gays and lesbians on housing prices to be positive.

The study, which appears in the Journal of Urban Economics, draws data from more than 20,000 home sales, and controls for such mitigating factors as access to amenities, racial homogeneity, education, income, housing characteristics and quality of nearby schools.


  1. stevenelliot says

    Owned houses in greenville, SC for 18 years….Now We live in LA. In Greenville, home of Bob Jones University and the buckle on the bible belt, my partner and I made a large profit on each home we bought, fixed up, and sold…..Not sure what this study was studying cause it sure didnt apply to us

  2. Phineas Talbot says

    This is an outrageous, ridiculous, and vindictive “study”. I would like to know who funded this research.

  3. says

    Uh, Phineas – the idea that a perceived “undesirable class” can affect real estate values in an area is not new, and is well documented.

    All you have to do is swap “gay couples” for “latino families,” or “black households” and look at how bigots have sabotaged their own prosperity by treating the arrival of new, different people as a negative.

    If anything, this study is nice to see, because while it reminds us of what we already know about communities that reject us, it also identifies that accepting our presence actually has a positive effect on a community.

    It makes the point that tolerance and acceptance isn’t just nice in the abstract, its actually in your material interest to cultivate.

  4. Jester says

    The author of the article that was quoted clearly does not understand the difference between causation and correlation. Misty Harris from the Sun writes “the presence of one more same-sex couple for every 1,000 households is linked to a one per cent drop in housing prices,” but the study does not show a DROP in housing prices. Since the study was not conducted over time, it can not show a drop in prices, it can only show a snap shot of housing prices in that area.
    Also, this study was designed only to show correlation, not causation. In other words, it does NOT make the claim that the presence of same-sex couples affects housing prices at all. It only shows that in liberal areas, more gay couples tend to live in wealthier neighborhoods, and in conservative areas, more gay couples tend to live in poorer neighborhoods. This could very well be the result of same-sex couples in conservative areas of the country being professionally at a disadvantage, and therefore not being able to afford a more expensive house. Or it could be the result of something else.
    Nothing wrong with the study, just the reporting. The study does show an interesting correlation, but in no way does it show the causative effect the reporter is suggesting. A very disappointing lack of reading comprehension by the Vancouver Sun’s reporter. Also, the editor should have caught this. Correlation not proving causation is high-school science.

  5. Sargon Bighorn says

    “In liberal neighbourhoods, by contrast, researchers find the associated effect of gays and lesbians on housing prices to be positive.” That’s because Gay folk fix up the hood. Bring in trendy shops and stuff and PRESTO the Hetero crowd wants to live there. Key West, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Parts of Seattle, Parts of LA, parts of Chicago, and on and on and on and on. The conservative areas don’t want Gay citizens. They can do their own damn painting.

  6. at says

    Jester, the reporter would be right in their statement assuming that the researchers adjusted for enough potentially confounding factors. Making a case for causation is of course a grey area, and even professional researchers don’t always agree on how much we can actually conclude on causality from a study.

    But yes, a longitudinal study (i.e. where neighborhoods are followed over time) would be a more convincing design. Every study has flaws when experiments are off the table.

  7. Gunga Dean says

    AS the Divine Ms M once said when touring Germany. “Something deep in my little Jewish heart was screaming; GET ME THE F*CK OUT OF HERE!!!!”

  8. says

    THANK YOU, Jester ! Finally !! We get REAL reporting, although it’s found in a comment section of a blog. Still, excellent job.

  9. Richard Golden says

    could it be that in those upscale conservative areas our homes get vandalized more often?

  10. jason says

    This is an absolutely stupid study with dubious data. Probably done by some silly scientists in self-justification mode.

  11. johnny says

    I’ve owned homes in two conservative areas with my partner. Both times our property values went UP, not down and I made a healthy profit from both in a slack economy. We’ve never had our property vandalized (knock on wood) and our neighbors have been OK with us – not overly friendly, but OK – because we kept things looking good and improved the properties’ value. When it comes to conservatives, the one place you can be sure that they’ll be “OK with Gay” is when they see their property values rise. Much like Anita Bryant and her hair dresser, conservatives may not necessarily like us being close, but they love how pretty everything is once we’re done.

  12. Gigi says

    This “study” is ridiculous. The housing market in the U.S. has been like a roller coaster over the past few years, which would make it next to impossible to get results such as these. Btw, it can’t be considered scientific and noteworthy if you go into a study with a predetermined result in mind and then look for stats to confirm your bias. There as so many factors that affect real estate and housing prices that I feel, as a real estate professional, that these people were just looking to get a reaction. Mission accomplished.

  13. says

    The survey is absurd — how on earth could the conservative or the liberal heteros know if a gay couple bought a house in their neighborhood? How does one even find “conservative” or “liberal” neighborhoods at all? And then what, after a gay couple moves in some other heteros don’t move into a neighborhood until they check around first “Any gays here?” Egad, the study should be taken out and burned.