Love Wins: How the Same Sex Marriage Ruling Will Impact Real Estate

Posted on Jul 10 2015 - 10:59am by Zoe Eisenberg

gayweddingThe recent Supreme Court same sex marriage ruling has individuals applauding across the nation. But, many real estate pros want to know, how will it impact the housing market?

Many believe it's too soon to tell. What we can bet on, however, is a boost in same sex marriage, which will likely equate to a growth in same sex newlyweds purchasing homes. And as acceptance spreads, more and more gay couples will likely feel confident in putting down permanent roots in communities that openly welcome them.

“As with other momentous social landmarks, this progress will trigger key milestones along the path to homeownership,” Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, said in a statement, stressing that the LGBT community is “a powerful market segment that represents an estimated buying power of $840 billion.”

For many, marriage can equate to more financial security, so newly married individuals will become eligible for loans they previously could not qualify for. This means more couples will surely enter the housing fold, and the mortgage market for states that had maintained a gay marriage ban (Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky, to name a few) will likely be impacted.

Another change is that same sex couples living in states that still banned gay marriage will now have more legal options when it comes to co-owning their homes, instead of merely holding a tenancy in common or joint rights of tenancy with survivorship, which could be limiting. With the new Supreme Court ruling in place, married same sex couples can hold their property as tenancy by entirety (an option only available to married couples) which offers a greater protection against creditors, plus a myriad of additional benefits.

In terms of tax benefits, capital gains will be affected; married couples get to enjoy double the capital gains exemption than an individual does. With gay marriage being allowed in all states, more same sex couples will be able to reap these benefits, which have been offered by the IRS since 2013, but only in states that support same sex unions.

Additionally, married same-sex couples can now apply for VA loans—which, similar to capital gains, were available to all couples, but only in states that recognized the marriage.

Over the next few years, we will likely see for sure just how the new rulings will impact housing.

Sources: Bankrate

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