An LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance survey has revealed the challenges of retirement for LGBTQ homeowners, who worry about safety and acceptance more than their straight counterparts.

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Retirement is an exciting time for many people as they begin to chart a life without the daily grind of a 9-to-5. However, retirement still comes with a unique set of housing challenges, such as the decision to stay the course in a longtime abode or skip town to live in a smaller dream home in a new locale.

A new survey from the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance reveals post-retirement plans for LGBTQ+ homeowners are more complicated than those straight homeowners face, as they must factor in safety and acceptance when choosing the next step.

More than 70 percent of LGBTQ+ homeowners aged 45+ said choosing a place to live after retirement is more difficult than it is for their straight counterparts. Thirty-one percent of the 400 respondents — 300 of whom self-identified as LGBTQ — said choosing a place to live after retirement was “much harder” and 40.8 percent said it was “somewhat harder.”

Nineteen percent said it was “the same” difficulty level, while only 1 percent said it was “somewhat easier.”

The survey’s 100 straight respondents gave similar answers to their LGBTQ+ counterparts; however, there was a sizeable difference (-33 percent) in the number of straight respondents who thought finding a place to live after retirement was “much harder” for LGBTQ homeowners (21.3 percent vs 31.8 percent).

Anita Blue

“I was born in the mid-1960s and just missed being called a Baby Boomer, but I consider myself an honorary member,” LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance President Anita Blue said in a written statement. “At 76 million strong, they changed the course of American life at every step of their lives, and they are doing it again as they enter retirement and the later phases of their lives.”

“Baby Boomers are also credited with changing the face of LGBTQ+ life in our nation,” she added. “Baby Boomers suffered, endured, fought for equality, broke barriers, and improved the lives of so many. Now that so many in our community are aging, we wanted to gain insight into what retirement living might look like for LGBTQ+ people.”

When choosing where to move, respondents said “safety, affordability and the ability to live authentically” are non-negotiables.

Affordability was most important to respondents 65 and older (61 percent), safety was most important to respondents aged 55 to 65 (58.1 percent) and the freedom to live authentically was most important to respondents aged 45 to 54 (61.5 percent).

The majority of respondents across all age ranges said they wouldn’t consider living in a community with low LGBTQ+ acceptance rates, with those aged 45 to 54 (69.6 percent) having the highest share of respondents who said it was a make-or-break feature.

When it comes to where they’d like to live post-retirement, roughly 50 percent of respondents in each age category said they’d prefer to move to another state or country.

They also overwhelmingly want to live in a smaller abode, with respondents 65 and older being more staunch on downsizing (70.6 percent) than their counterparts aged 55 to 64 (58.7 percent). They also eschewed the idea of living in a 55-plus independent living community in favor of suburban or small urban neighborhoods.

Whether they decide to sell or stay, the Alliance said older LGBTQ+ homeowners have plenty of equity to help them live a financially stable life. More than 60 percent of respondents aged 55 and older have more than $250,00 in equity.

“The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Study found that those 65-plus currently have equity of $250,000 on their homes, up from $170,000 in 2019,” the report read. “However, LGBTQ+ members of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance are faring even better.”

Email Marian McPherson

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