News

On the Four-Year Anniversary of the Same Sex Marriage Ruling, Digital Mortgage Lender Better.com Celebrates a 10x Increase in LGBTQ Married Borrowers

News follows National Academy of Sciences study showing same sex
couples are 73% more likely to be denied mortgages than heterosexual
couples with similar financial soundness

Better.com pledges formal support for the Senate to pass the Equality
Act
to ban LGBTQ housing discrimination nationwide

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#FHA–On the four-year anniversary of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) being
overturned, the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, and in
celebration of Pride Month, digital mortgage lender Better.com is proud
to support same-sex couples across the country, reporting a 10x increase
in lending to LGBTQ married couples, totaling more than $35M in home
loans.


The news follows a study whose findings are startling: LGBTQ
couples were 73 percent
more likely to be denied a mortgage than
heterosexual couples with the same financial worthiness. Additionally,
on average, these couples paid .5 percent more in interest and fees,
which collectively adds up to as much as $86 million a year, nationally.
The research,
published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found
no evidence that same-sex couples had a higher default risk.

Marriage Equality Fueling LGBTQ Home Buying

It has been more than four years since the Supreme Court ruled in favor
of marriage equality, paving the way for more and more LGBTQ married
couples to buy homes. In a recent report from the National
Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals

(NAGLREP), 49%
of surveyed members
reported more LGBTQ couples buying homes since
the June 2015 decision. However, LGBTQ homeownership remains 16% below
the national average according to a report by NAGLREP, published in
partnership with Freddie
Mac
.

“The study findings — which revealed that 73
percent
of LGBTQ borrowers were more likely to be denied a mortgage
— are a stark reminder that significant changes are necessary in
mortgage lending for same sex couples. We are pleased that technology
has enabled digital mortgage lenders like Better.com to innovate the
underwriting process for same-sex couples by focusing solely on one’s
credit worthniess and financial situation. We hope as technology
continues to advance, equal access to mortgages will follow suit,” said
Jeff Berger, REALTOR® and Founder NAGLREP.

“At Better, we strive to make home ownership accessible to not only
LGBTQ people, but to all communities and every American,” said Vishal
Garg, Founder and CEO of Better.com. “We are fiercely committed to
advocating for our borrowers, as well as leading inclusion and diversity
within the industry.”

Geographic Distribution of Mortgages for LGBTQ Married Couples

46% of the mortgages Better made to LGBTQ married couples went to
borrowers in Red
and Swing
states, with Florida leading the way (12.36% of
borrowers), followed by Texas (11.24%). These statistics date back to
Better.com’s founding in 2016. Since inception, Better.com has increased
its funded loan volume by 3x. Over the same time period, LGBTQ mortgages
have grown 10x, suggesting that same sex couples are participating at a
higher rate that their hetero counterparts.

Research also found the the LGBTQ population’s combined disposable
personal income was an estimated $917
billion.
Additionally, same-sex couples have a higher rate of
employment than married opposite-sex couples and a higher
median income than all opposite-sex couples
.

“We’ve dealt with varying degrees of rejection or discrimination on our
path to finding love and creating a life together and for the majority
of our lives, the future for LGBTQ couples felt uncertain. There was
always a hesitation before disclosing the name or gender of our
significant other, especially when applying for a home loan. We’re
sincerely grateful to the team at Better.com who welcomed and helped us
take the next step, with a truly honest and upfront approach to home
financing. This August, after 8+ years together, we will take the next
step in our journey as we become Mr. and Mr. in a backyard wedding and
celebration in the place we call home.” – Brennan Johnson, 29 and Trevor
McIntosh, 33, Denver, CO.

“Owning a home is the cornerstone of the American Dream and every
community deserves an equal shot at making this dream a reality. While
we still have a long way to go, it’s rewarding to know advances in
technology are helping remove some of the existing barriers,” added Garg.

Better.com Pledges Formal Support for the Senate to Pass the Equality
Act, a Step Toward LGBTQ Housing Protections

In light of the study findings, the current state of affairs, and
Better.com’s internal audit of its LGBTQ borrowers, Better.com CEO and
founder Vishal Garg pledged formal support for the Equality
Act
, an amendment to Civil
Rights Act of 1964
, which outlawed discrimination on the basis race,
color, religion, sex or national origin in employment, public
accommodations and education, federal funding, credit, the jury system
and housing. The
Fair Housing Act, passed into law in 1968
and now a bedrock of the
real estate industry, makes it illegal to discriminate based on race,
color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin in the renting
or selling of housing and related services. Crucially, it does not
specifically mention sexual orientation or gender identity as protected
categories

“Today, Better.com pledges full and formal support for the Equality Act
because the current status quo is unjust,” said Garg. “Every human being
– regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation or socioeconomic
standing – deserves a fair shot at the American dream of owning a home.
To know that even in 2019, there is a marginalized community without
formal protected laws is unconscionable. The entire reason Better.com
was created was to prevent this kind of discrimination in housing
through technology. We stand behind all communities and support them as
they pursue homeownership.”

About Better.com:

Backed by Ally, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, American Express Ventures,
Kleiner Perkins, Pine Brook and Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan
(HOOPP), Better.com
is one of the fastest growing home finance disruptors in America,
leveraging technology to make homeownership more transparent, affordable
and accessible. Unlike traditional lenders, Better.com operates on a
commission-free business model that enables its customers to save an
average of $3500 per loan. Better.com not only closes loans 50% quicker
than the industry average1 (21 days vs. industry average of
42 days), its proprietary technology also allows its non-commissioned
loan officers to outpace the industry by 1347%, originating 55 loans per
month vs. the industry standard2 of 3.8 loans per month.
Since inception in 2016, Better.com has funded more than $3.3B in loans.
The company was recognized as one of Forbes FinTech
50
2018, and one of Crain’s Best Places to Work in New York City.
For more information, follow @betterdotcom

1Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report – March 2019

2MBA Economic and Mortgage Finance Outlook Prepared for
Midwinter Conference – March 2019

Contacts

Media:
Tanya Hayre, Head of PR
thayre@better.com

error: Content is protected !!