A new US study has shown that same-sex couples are 73 per cent more likely to be turned down for a mortgage than heterosexual couples.
The study also showed same-sex couples who did get mortgages paid an average 0.5 per cent higher interest, Iowa State University has reported.
The study’s authors said that while they could not definitively conclude the higher rate of mortgage rejections was due to discrimination, it was strongly suggested by the evidence.
“Lenders can justify higher fees, if there is greater risk,” said co-author Assistant Professor Lei Gao.
“We found nothing to indicate that’s the case. In fact, our findings weakly suggest same-sex borrowers may perform better.”
Only 49 per cent of same-sex couples in the US own their home, compared to over 65 per cent of opposite-sex couples.
Federal laws forbid mortgage discrimination based on personal factors such as sex, age and religion, but sexual orientation is not protected.
In Australia, people are legally protected from discrimination based on gender, intersex status, or sexual orientation.
LGBTI people are nonetheless at greater risk of problems accessing housing, including the risk of homelessness.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are at least twice as likely to experience homelessness as their straight counterparts, and trans people have reported problems from trouble securing accommodation to receiving death threats from neighbours.