Category Archives: Housing Markets

Gentrification and the LGBTQ Community

If you’ve looked at homes in a gay neighborhood or have lived in one before, you’ve likely heard the term “gentrification.” This term is used when a poor neighborhood is improved and maintained to the point that those who once could afford to live there are no longer able to. Gentrification is often connected to the LGBTQ community due to its history in areas such as the Castro and Boystown. Once, these were the only neighborhoods where LGBTQ people felt safe. Today, however, many find that they simply can’t afford to live in these historically gay areas.

The LGBTQ Community After WWII

Gentrification of GayborhoodsThe history of gentrification begins after World War II. Those who had fought in the war were quickly and efficiently kicked out of the military if the let it be known that they were gay. Others found themselves the victims of hate crimes and were forced to leave the neighborhoods they were living in. With often little money and nowhere else to go, they settled in poor, often run down parts of the city.

Over time, these brave LGBTQ individuals and families began changing the communities they were forced to live in. They repaired the homes, improved the landscaping, and in general made the neighborhoods nicer than they were before. Developers saw these up-and-coming neighborhoods and began building new apartment complexes and housing developments in them. The result is that after a few decades, suddenly these “gay ghettos” were affluent neighborhoods with rising property values.

The Benefits of Gentrification

On one hand, the LGBTQ community is able to take advantage of the benefits of gentrification. Many of these homeowners are able to sell their houses for much more than they paid for them. Many even make a profit after subtracting out the cost of maintenance. The neighborhoods such as Harlem, East Village, and West Village were once mostly LGBTQ communities, but today that’s no longer true because many of the gay or lesbian homeowners sold their properties for a nice sum. Those who continue to live in these areas now enjoy safe neighborhoods that are the envy of many.

The Downsides

Of course, there are some downsides to gentrification. Young LGBTQ couples and individuals may find it impossible to move into the gayborhood of their choice. Those who continue to live in a gentrified gay district are likely to find their property taxes have greatly increased. Their overall cost of living may have increased, too. Some may even find themselves forced to sell their beloved home because they can no longer afford it.

Whether you love it or hate it, gentrification is something that many LGBTQ people have to face at some point. Fortunately, there are great gay and lesbian real estate professionals here to help you buy a home in the gay neighborhood of your choice or sell a property you already own.

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.

What to Look for in a Gayborhood

If you’re ready to talk to a gay or lesbian real estate agent about moving into a gayborhood, you may be so focused on the overall area that you don’t stop and consider other aspects of where you’re moving to. Yes, it can be great being surrounded by other LGBTQ neighbors, but sometimes, a gay village has too many downsides to truly be the right place for you to move. Here are a few factors you should always take into consideration before you move to one of these neighborhoods.

Is it Conveniently Located?

What to Look for in a GayborhoodGay districts are often located in great parts of the city, but sometimes those locations simply aren’t that convenient for you. If you have to commute 30 minutes or aren’t in the right school district, you may need to weigh living in a gay neighborhood against being located closer to work or school. Even if you think the commute won’t be that bad, you may find yourself considering another move in a few years because you’re tired of it.

What Are Your Neighbors Like?

Many people love the idea of living near other LGBTQ individuals and families, but don’t stop and consider what their neighbors are really like. For example, some people aren’t comfortable or don’t see the need to make a big deal out of their sexuality. If you’re one of these people, are you really going to like living next to someone who has rainbow flags hung everywhere? If you like living on a quiet street, will you want to be near people who throw dinner parties or come home late at night after the clubs close?

Don’t simply look at your neighbors as LGBTQ people—look at them as the people they are. If you drive through the neighborhood and hear a lot of noise or see a lot of cars parked up and down the street on the weekends, you may not be happy there.

Do the Homes Meet Your Needs?

This is perhaps the most important question—are the homes in the gay neighborhood what you really need? You don’t want to buy a home that’s too small or too large for you and your family. You also don’t want to purchase a home that costs more than you can afford. Sometimes, moving into the gayborhood simply isn’t financially a good idea. When that’s the case, you shouldn’t hesitate to look elsewhere.

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.

Gayborhood Prices Are Increasing

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that housing costs in many gay villages are higher than average. Gay and lesbian real estate experts in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago can all tell you that the popular gayborhoods in these three cities are expensive. But just how expensive are they, and how have the prices changed? A survey done by real estate website Trulia and dating site OKCupid reveals that home value premiums jumped in just five years (between 2012 and 2017).

New York Prices Increased the most

Gayborhood Prices Are IncreasingThe survey looked at the average home value per square foot in the gayborhood and in the zip code overall in order to determine what percentage the value increase. For example, in New York in 2012, the gay neighborhood’s home value was, on average, 106% of the entire zip code’s average home value. By 2017, however, the gayborhood’s average home value was 162% of the home value in the rest of that area. That’s a fairly substantial increase in just five years.

In terms of cost per square foot, that means home values in the New York gay neighborhoods increased from $436/square foot in 2012 to $659/square foot in 2017. For those who purchased real estate in the area, the investment paid off. For those who are looking to move into New York’s gay neighborhoods, though, it’s going to be costlier.

Which Other Cities Saw Increases?

Only one other city’s gay neighborhoods increased by more than 50%. While most people would expect to see San Francisco or LA here, neither of those cities made the top ten. Instead, the city in the number two spot is New Orleans. The Louisiana city known for Mardi Gras saw gay neighborhood housing prices jump from $193/square foot to $290/square foot, an average increase of almost $100. Boston come in third with an overall jump from $361/square foot to $557/square foot, moving from 79% of the average zip code cost to 105%.

Some Gayborhood Home Values Declined

Some gayborhood home prices actually dropped, becoming closer to the average home cost in the zip code. In Miami, Florida, gay neighborhood values went from 73% of the zip code premium to 60%, though value per square foot still increased from $188 to $296 due to overall market increases. In San Francisco, the home value premium dropped from 17% more than the average to only 12% above average, bringing homes in the Castro district more in line with what you’d pay anywhere else in the city.

Capitol Hill – Denver’s Gay Ghetto

When most people think about gay neighborhoods, many think of sunny California or busy New York City. Few people would name Colorado as a gay-friendly state, but Denver actually has a very active LGBTQ community. The Mile High City is home to a great gay neighborhood called Capitol Hill. This part of the city is not only the focal point of Denver’s LGBTQ community, but is also a major epicenter for artists and musicians, especially those in the alternative punk genre.

Defining the Neighborhood

Capitol Hill – Denver’s Gay GhettoCapitol Hill is almost a perfect square. To the north is Colfax Avenue/Highway 70. Its southern border is Seventh Avenue, while the east and west sides of the neighborhood are defined by Downing Street and Broadway respectively. Some people define Capitol Hill to also include the neighboring Cheesman Park, but the city officially defines that area as its own neighborhood. There’s also a North Capitol Hill that sits above Colfax Avenue, but it’s more often called Uptown.

It’s Got Everything from Sun Rise to Sun Set

You can start your morning in Capitol Hill by getting coffee at one of the trendy little cafes that dot the neighborhood. Then it’s off for some light morning shopping at one of the boutiques before lunch. During the evening, there are a number of concert venues and bars where you can party the night away. Cheesman Park and nearby Civic Center Park may not fall within the neighborhood, but they’re not far, and both hold a number of different festivals. Several clubs in the area cater to the LGBTQ community, of course.

A Neighborhood in Gentrification

While it’s something of a stereotype to say that all LGBTQ neighborhoods go through gentrification, it is true of Capitol Hill and, in fact, most of central Denver. Many of the historic homes in Capitol Hill are large and fairly elaborate. That’s because the area was originally home to some of Denver’s high society families. Following the 1893 Silver Crash, however, some of these homes were demolished and cheaper apartments were built. Capitol Hill was then solidly middle class until the 1950s, when it became a fairly poor area.

Since then, Capitol Hill has slowly been rebuilding. The gentrification effects peaked in the mid-2000s, and today, those cheap apartments have been replaced with luxury condos. Despite this, some of the older housing is still quite affordable. On average, Capitol Hill isn’t as expensive as some of the other neighborhoods. One of the local gay or lesbian real estate agents can help you find a home in this area that fits 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.

Provincetown – The Gayest City in America

Data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau declared Provincetown, Massachusetts, to be the Gayest City in America in 2011. Most people weren’t that surprised when the 2010 census data showed that more same-sex couples lived in P-Town than anywhere else in the U.S. Overall, the data showed that there were 163 same-sex couples for every 1,000 households in the city. Even though this information comes from the last major census in 2010, anyone who lives in or visits Provincetown can see that things haven’t really changed that much.

A Great Place to Live and Work

Provincetown – The Gayest City in AmericaProvincetown is only home to around 3,000 people, but its summer population can hit 20 times that. It’s a major tourist location thanks to its beaches, artist community, and LGBTQ-friendliness. With its location on the very tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown entices people from around the world to spend at least a few weeks here during the summer. It’s relaxed, even when all of the tourists are in town, making it a great place to escape to and recharge.

Of course, if you’re living here, you may feel like you’re being invaded in the summer. It can seem more crowded than you’d like, but as a local, you’ll know where to go to escape the tourists. You also have the advantage in being on your home turf!

The History of Provincetown and the LGBTQ Community

Provincetown really started to grow in the 1960s. It attracted a good number of hippies thanks to its rural charm, cheap property, and gorgeous waters. While it was already attracting some vacationers, it wasn’t a major tourist destination yet.

In the 1970s, the secret of Provincetown reached the LGBTQ community, and many started moving into the area to both visit and to look for homes. While there had been a higher than average gay and lesbian presence in the town for years, it wasn’t until the 1970s that it really became an LGBTQ tourist destination. In fact, the Provincetown Business Guild was actually created in order to bring in more LGBTQ tourism! Today, the guild has over 200 businesses.

Provincetown Today

If you’re thinking about moving to P-town, you’ll need to have a nice budget. Gay and lesbian real estate agents point out a cheap condo is still $350,000 or more, while a single-family home starts at half a million. If you want beachfront property, be ready to pay in the millions.