Category Archives: Home Ownership

The History of the Gay Village

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, you may feel more comfortable living around other individuals, couples, and families who are also a part of the community. This often means moving into an area that has become known as a gay village, gayborhood, or gay ghetto. While you’re working with a gay or lesbian real estate professional to find your perfect home in one of these neighborhoods, you may find it odd that so many LGBTQ people decided to live together. Where did these gay neighborhoods come from?

The Gay Village Started in Germany

The History of the Gay VillageThe first neighborhood to be recognized as a gay village was in Berlin. The neighborhood of Schoneberg became popular with LGBTQ homeowners during the 1920s, several decades before the idea of the gay village even existed. Most LGBTQ people gathered in bars rather than certain neighborhoods.

In the U.S., the gay village didn’t become a recognized concept until the late 1960s and 70s. Thanks to the Stonewall Rebellion in 1965, the LGBTQ community became more recognized, leading to the appearance of more gay neighborhoods across the country. The shift from bar to community was a major transition for the LGBTQ community and helped to show that its members were just like anyone else—neighbors, co-workers, and families.

What Makes a Gay Village?

What exactly is a gay village, though? Is it simply a neighborhood where a certain percentage of homeowners or renters identify as LGBTQ? For some, that is enough of a definition. Most neighborhoods do have more identifying characteristics, though. Originally, gay ghettos were run-down areas that were fairly cheap. These parts of town were considered areas where “disreputable” people lived. Many LGBTQ people were forced to move to these areas due to threats of violence and intolerance in the more affluent parts of town.

Because many of these LGBTQ homeowners took care of their homes, many gay villages went through gentrification. Today, these older historic homes are often worth a lot of money. In Chelsea, New York, for example, home prices have dramatically increased since the area became a gay neighborhood in the 1990s. The same is true with areas such as Andersonville, Chicago; South End, Boston; and West Hollywood.

The Modern Gay Village

Fortunately for the LGBTQ community, there’s no longer as much antagonism as there once was. Today, while there is still some persecution towards LGBTQ individuals and families, it’s not as wide-spread, and fewer people are finding themselves run out of a neighborhood because of who they’re in love with. Because of this, there aren’t many new gay neighborhoods appearing. The gay village isn’t likely to vanish overnight, but there is, thankfully, less of a need for them.

Buying within Budget – Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Spend More?

According to studies done by Nielsen and by Prudential, LGBTQ individuals and families tend to spend more than straight individuals and families. Some believe this is because LGBTQ individuals feel a pressure to look a certain way in order to fit in. For example, gay men often feel as if they have to be fashionable because the stereotype is that gay men dress very nicely. This often leads to a large amount of credit card debt.

According to the studies, many LGBTQ people spend their money at liquor stores and on wine. This corresponds with the fact that many young LGBTQ people often turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with their conflicting emotions about their orientation or gender identity.

But what about housing? Does this trend of spending more continue?

 

Buying in the Gayborhood

Buying within Budget – Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Spend MoreFor those who want to buy in a gay village or gayborhood, it often does. That’s because these neighborhoods are often gentrified or historic. The Castro district in San Francisco, for example, is home to some amazing properties that have been maintained over the years, thus pushing the price up. New York, especially Manhattan and other neighborhoods where LGBTQ people often live, is also highly expensive. It’s more than housing costs, too—the price of living in these cities is also much higher.

While this isn’t true for every gay village or neighborhood, it is the case for many of them. These homes are generally more expensive due to their condition. Those that are considered historic houses may be even more expensive.

 

States with Lower Costs of Living Are Often Not as Welcoming

It’s easy to say that you’ll simply move to a state with a lower cost of living, but it’s not always that simple. Many of those states that do have lower costs of living are also the ones where LGBTQ people do not have as many protections.

Most of Arkansas, for example, has a cost of living that is between 15 and 20 percent lower than the national average. But it’s also a state that does not have hate crime laws or protections in place for LGBTQ individuals and families. The one area that is very welcoming, Eureka Springs, is also more costly.

Still, you can often find places even in the most conservative of states where you’ll be welcome, just like there are places in states with high costs of living that are more budget-friendly. Simply find a good gay or lesbian real estate agent to help you find the perfect home.

Cleveland: A Great Place for LGBTQ People

When you think of some of the most popular and well-known gay villages and welcoming cities, you probably don’t think of Cleveland, Ohio. In fact, Cleveland is often the butt of jokes because it seems so boring and dull. But Cleveland is home to at least four gay ghettos, and its LGBTQ community is quite large and active. If you’re considering a move to the Midwest, you can do much worse than the “Forest City.” Let’s take a look at the different neighborhoods in and around Cleveland that are considered gay villages.

Detroit-Shoreway

Cleveland A Great Place for LGBTQ PeopleThis neighborhood is located on the western side of the city and sits on the shore of Lake Erie. For those who love swimming and other beach activities, it may be the ideal home. Shopping in Detroit-Shoreway centers around Gordon Square, an area with a number of retail buildings and restaurants. Capitol Theatre offers some amazing shows and concerts, while residents can quickly travel to other parts of Cleveland via rapid transit and the Cleveland bus system.

Ohio City

One of the historic neighborhoods of Cleveland, Ohio City is also home to many LGBTQ individuals and families. Like Detroit-Shoreway, it also sits on the shore of Lake Erie. It was once its own city, but in 1854, it was rolled into the expanding Cleveland metro. For those who love craft beers, Ohio City is the place to go. It contains a large number of breweries and pubs. The neighborhood is also home to the auxiliary location of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Tremont

Tremont, like Ohio City, is an historic neighborhood. It was once home to many German immigrants. Today, the area includes a number of art galleries and restaurants. It has been going through a revival of sorts since 2000, becoming an area where many LGBTQ professionals, hipsters, and even older couples find attractive. The dog park, historic Lemko Hall, and the various older churches make the area feel homey and add to its historic charm.

Lakewood

Lakewood isn’t a neighborhood in Cleveland, but it is a nearby suburb. Home to more than 50,000 people, Lakewood provides a gorgeous view of Lake Erie to its residents. This thriving city is home to many LGBTQ individuals and couples. It’s been named as one of the best places to raise children by Business Week and as one of the Top 10 suburbs in the country.

As you can see, not only is Cleveland a great place for LGBTQ people, it also has plenty of options. Contact a gay or lesbian real estate agent in the area today to begin finding your perfect home.

Wilton Manors – A Gay Village for Retirees

Wilton Manors in Florida is home to a very large LGBTQ population. Many of these individuals are retired individuals and couples who have moved to Florida to spend their golden years in peace. The city has the second highest percentage of LGBTQ residents to total population (behind Provincetown, MA), with 140 out of every 1,000 identifying as a member of the community. This 14% is much, much higher than the national average of 1.1% of the U.S. population, so if you want to spend time with other LGBTQ people, Wilton Manors is definitely one of the places to go!

The History of Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors – A Gay Village for RetireesWhile it may not play as big a part in the struggle for equality as gay villages in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, Wilton Manors still has an interesting history. It’s a somewhat young city—it was incorporated in 1947. Despite that, it quickly became a haven for LGBTQ individuals. As more and more LGBTQ people moved to Wilton Manors, related organizations came into the area. This led to the funding of the Wilton Manors Pride Center, a branch of the Stonewall National Museum, and the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center. The city’s police department features LGBTQ officers and a liaison officer, plus a number of elected city officials, including at least one mayor, have identified as members of the community.

Senior Living

In addition to the condos, apartments, and single-family homes that retirees can purchase in Wilton Manors, the city is also home to an LGBTQ senior housing complex. This development features more than 50 housing units, all of which are priced for the limited income retirees often find themselves with. They also offer extra features to help those in need, including assistance getting to doctor’s appointments and other locations.

A Great Location

While Wilton Manors isn’t a huge city—it has a regular population of a little over 11,000, although that number greatly increases during vacation season—it is located near Fort Lauderdale and Oakland Park. Both of these cities are also home to a number of LGBTQ individuals and families, plus they offer many different shopping and dining options. The city is also considered a part of the Miami Metro Area, and thanks to several major highways, it’s easy to get to travel to many of the events Miami hosts.

Pricing in Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors does have a wide range of housing prices. Those who qualify for living in the senior living center may find that their housing costs fit nicely into their budgets. Those who are looking to purchase a home, though, may end up spending $500,000 or more depending on where in Wilton Manors they want to be located. A gay or lesbian real estate official can assist you with finding a home that fits your needs and your budget.

Cities You May Not Realize are LGBTQ Friendly

Everyone knows that New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are very LGBTQ-friendly and have well-known gay neighborhoods. But there are a number of other cities out there that you might not know are very friendly to the LGBTQ community. These smaller cities don’t make huge headlines for having gay neighborhoods, but they do. If you speak to a gay or lesbian real estate expert in one of these cities, they would tell you that their LGBTQ community is thriving. Here are a few of these cities.

Missoula

Cities You May Not Realize are LGBTQ FriendlyYou’ve probably never heard of this little city in Montana, which isn’t surprising at all. It’s the home of the University of Montana, a liberal arts university that brings in a good number of young people to the city. Missoula also features the Western Montana LGBT Community Center and a number of gay bars and other businesses. If you love the outdoors, you’ll enjoy the national parks that surround the area.

Anchorage

One of the bigger cities in Alaska, Anchorage is home to a thriving LGBTQ community. The city also ranked highly on the HRC Municipal Equality Index with an 85 out of a possible 100. That shows that the city itself has a number of inclusive policies and is LGBTQ-friendly. Anchorage hosts Alaska’s Pride every year and is home to several LGBTQ support groups. If you love the colder temperatures and don’t mind the ice and snow, Anchorage may be the winter wonderland you’ve always wanted.

Bloomington

While Chicago may be the midland LGBTQ paradise, it may not be for everyone. If Chicago is too large for you, you might take a look at Bloomington, Indiana. This smaller city scored a perfect 100 on the HRC index. Like Missoula, Bloomington is a college town, so you can expect its average age to skew younger than many other cities. The city is home to a great number of LGBTQ-owned businesses, restaurants, and bars. Bloomington also hosts the Pride Film Festival, an event that has run for more than a dozen years.

These three cities are just a few of the most unexpected LGBTQ friendly cities in the country. They’re great examples of places where the LGBTQ community not only exists, but also thrives even though they’re not that well-known. If you’d like to know more about what it’s like to live in Bloomington, Missoula, or Anchorage, contact a gay or lesbian real estate professional in that city.

Where Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Stand in 2018?

LGBTQ rights have come a long way in the past ten years. While the fight for equality isn’t over, things have gotten better in some areas. Thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage is now the law of the land. Being able to marry your partner provides you with many more legal protections and options.

This is especially true when it comes to buying a home. Some couples aren’t aware of these changes or where exactly same-sex couples stand when they’re buying a home. Things are different now, and you need to know about these differences before you begin your home search.

Marriage Makes It Easier

Where Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Stand in 2018If you’re married to your partner, buying a house is an easier process. You don’t have to worry about setting up joint tenancy documents or whether it’s better to be tenants in common. Unless you file as married filing separately, you also don’t have to decide if one person should claim the entire mortgage tax deduction or if it needs to be split. There’s no question that the two of you own the property as a married couple with all the rights and privileges that brings.

You’re also protected from discrimination from lenders. In September of 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is a federal agency, determined that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s protections on sex discrimination extended to orientation and gender identity. Banks, mortgage companies, and other lenders cannot deny your application just because you’re in a same-sex relationship or marriage.

More Protections Exist

Many states and cities have passed ordinances or other legal protections that prevent discrimination based on orientation or gender identity. According to Trulia, 55.2% of housing options (homes, apartments, etc.) are protected by laws. Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C. have passed protections that cover housing, employment, and public accommodations. Unfortunately, if you plan on buying in an area that doesn’t have these protections, you may find yourself facing discrimination.

Discrimination Is Still Lurking

LGBTQ discrimination is still widespread in some areas. Even if the seller isn’t upfront about it, if they want to deny your bid based on the fact that you’re a same-sex couple, they will find some way of doing so. Some real estate agents will also discriminate, showing you only a few houses or obviously not dedicating much time to your needs. That’s why many look for a gay or lesbian real estate agent. In addition to being a better fit for your needs, they also understand the legalities around housing discrimination.

Where’s the Best Place to Live in Wisconsin if You’re LGBTQ?

Thinking about moving to Wisconsin? The state may not be known as a beacon of hope for the LGBTQ community, but it also doesn’t have a negative reputation. In fact, it’s a fairly neutral state. That said, there are a number of cities here that are very welcoming and progressive. If you’re considering a move to America’s Dairyland, as it’s sometimes called, here are some towns and cities to think about. Many are home to gay and lesbian real estate agents who can help you find your dream home.

Milwaukee

Where’s the Best Place to Live in Wisconsin if You’re LGBTQOne of the most well-known cities in Wisconsin, Milwaukee is known for being the home of the Green Bay Packers football team. It’s also the home of PrideFest Milwaukee and a number of LGBTQ events and businesses. In fact, many in Milwaukee identify as progressive, open-minded individuals. The housing market in the city has recently undergone several changes. The downtown area has been revitalized, and a number of neighborhoods are experiencing gentrification. While that means housing prices have gone up, it also means the properties here are in great condition.

Madison

Another large city, Madison is often considered Wisconsin’s my LGBTQ-friendly area. In fact, The Advocate has recognized the city as one of the most welcoming in the country. As the capitol of the state, Madison is a fairly large city with many different events and activities. There are some great LGBTQ-owned businesses here, plus you can take advantage of the local LGBTQ community center, too. With an average age in the 30s, many in Madison are young professionals who are ready to seize the future.

Eau Claire

Eau Claire is another city where the average age is fairly young. This is mostly because it’s the home of the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, which attracts many students from around the country. The city is known for being a gay getaway, especially during the annual Chippewa Valley Pride festival.

Oshkosh

Another college town, Oshkosh is also home to a branch of the University of Wisconsin. While its median age may be a bit older than Madison or Eau Claire, it’s still young enough that the city overall is very welcoming and liberal. You can visit a number of different LGBTQ businesses here, including a few bars and clubs.

Superior

Superior is located in the northern part of the state and is great for those who love the outdoors. Of course, that also means it has some pretty cold winters, but if that doesn’t bother you, Superior is a great place to live. It and its sister city, Duluth, host a combined Pride festival every year.

Great Places in West Virginia for LGBTQ Families

Are you considering a move to West Virginia? If you’re looking to relocate to a city where LGBTQ families are not just accepted, but welcomed, there are a few different places to consider. West Virginia overall is known as a friendly, accepting state, so you don’t necessarily have to avoid any certain places. However, it’s always great to live in a city that values all of its residents equally. Here are some places where you’ll find that.

Athens

Great Places in West Virginia for LGBTQ FamiliesAthens is a small college town where many people’s lives revolve around Concord University and the events on campus. Even though it’s small, it’s considered a gorgeous hidden paradise. Bush Creek Falls provides an amazing outdoor experience, and there are plenty of places to hike and picnic. The university puts on a number of different events throughout the year, and the town is home to a functional drive-in movie theater. Local ordinances protect people from discrimination based on orientation.

Morgantown

Is Athens a bit too small for you? Morgantown is a nice mid-sized city with around 30,000 full-time residents plus another 25,000 students. It’s another college town, so you have that welcoming atmosphere that often accompanies these areas where the demographic skews younger. With an average home price around $150,000 it’s also quite affordable. Morgantown’s located in a central area that makes it quick and easy to get to a number of large metro areas.

Charleston

Charleston is the capital of West Virginia, and it’s one of the most liberal cities in the state. LGBTQ individuals are protected from discrimination in a number of areas thanks to city ordinances. You’ll also find that the housing market here has revitalized itself. Today, everything from trendy downtown lofts to traditional homes with classical layouts are available at reasonable prices. In fact, the median price for houses is even less than Morgantown, so you’ll find some great deals here. As the capital, you can also expect to find many cultural activities in Charleston, and there’s always something to do.

Huntington

Another city of around 50,000 is Huntington. Like the other cities on this list, it also has a number of anti-discrimination ordinances that offer protection to its citizens. The city’s homes are even more reasonable than Charleston’s, and many people will pay less than $100,000 for a nice single-family home. If you’re looking for a city that’s affordable yet very welcoming, talk to a gay or lesbian real estate agent about homes in Huntington.

The Best Cities for LBGTQ Living in Virginia

Are you considering moving to Virginia? It’s a lovely state that was one of the earliest places to approve same-sex marriage. Virginia is home to a good number of LGBTQ individuals and families, and the state has done a lot to provide them with many different resources and protections. Virginia has an official Office of Diversity and Inclusion that offers many different tools to LGBTQ people, plus groups such as Equality Virginia offer help in finding welcoming churches, legal advice, and more. Naturally, some parts of Virginia are more welcoming than others, though. Here are some great cities that you’ll feel right at home in.

Richmond

The Best Cities for LBGTQ Living in VirginiaThe capital city of Virginia, Richmond has done a lot in recent years to reach out to the LGBTQ community. This has resulted in more LGBTQ people coming in as tourists, and some have even decided to move to the city. PrideFest is held every year in September in Richmond, bringing in people from around the state for the festivities. Virginia Commonwealth University has also received high ratings as an LGBTQ-friendly campus.

Alexandria

Alexandria, which is located very close to Washington, D.C., also hosts several different pride events throughout the year. The city is home to groups such as Rainbow Families DC and the Alexandria Gay and Lesbian Community Association, both of which provide social activities and support for the community.

Blacksburg

A smaller city you may not have heard of, Blacksburg is home to Virginia Tech. This college has several different LGBTQ support groups that host various events and provide support to students in the area. They bring in various authors to read and talk with students and put on theater performances. Don’t be put off by the fact that Blacksburg sits in what many consider the more conservative part of the state. Many gay and lesbian real estate agents will tell you that the town is actually one of the more liberal in the area.

Arlington

Arlington is a part of the DC Metro Area, a place known for a large number of LGBTQ families. The city has appeared on Advocate Magazine’s list of the 10 Gayest Cities in the U.S. and is well-known for its friendly, welcoming attitude. The city has a group for LGBTQ parents, is home to the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and provides affordable housing to those who work in DC but can’t afford to live there. While the city doesn’t have its own pride festival, many of the LGBTQ groups in Arlington participate in the Capital Pride Parade.

The Gayest Cities in California

California is known as a haven for the LGBT community. A gay or lesbian real estate agent will tell you that people move from around the country to San Francisco, thinking it will solve all of their problems. But while San Francisco has a long history with the LGBT community, it’s also just one of the very open and supportive cities in the state. As it’s quite expensive, many people find themselves looking at other places in California. Here are some of the gayest cities in the state based on a number of factors, including the number of same-sex couples in the city and the number of city ordinances protecting LGBT people.

Palm Springs

The Gayest Cities in CaliforniaWhile it’s still fairly expensive, Palm Springs actually has more LGBT households per capita than any other city in California. More than eight percent of all households here are same-sex, so you know you’ll be able to find some LGBT friends pretty easily. This also means that the school system is very open to kids with same-sex families.

West Hollywood

While technically different from Hollywood, West Hollywood is still as open and welcoming as its more popular sister. It’s also much less expensive than Hollywood proper, though it is still a part of LA, so you can expect housing costs to be a bit higher than they’d be elsewhere. Still, with more than six percent of households made up of LGBT-identifying individuals, it may be worth the extra cost.

Cathedral City

You may not be familiar with Cathedral City. It’s not one of the most well-known cities in California, but it is home to many LGBT people. The city only has a little over 50,000 citizens, so it’s nice and small. It’s located in the Coachella Valley not too far from Palm Springs. Overall, things are cheaper in Cathedral City, so it’s a nice change of pace from the rest of the area. In addition to its lower cost of living, Cathedral City is known for its number of gorgeous parks.

Rio Dell

Another small city, Rio Dell has less than 4,000 people living in it. Out of these, around three percent of households are same-sex. Like Cathedral City, it’s more laid back, relaxed, and low-cost. This town is also in the Northeastern part of the state, so it’s perfect for those who don’t want to get caught up in the rush of LA or San Francisco.

These are just a few places where the LGBT community is very large and strong. Check them out if you’re planning a move to California.