Same-Sex Borrowers 73% More Likely To Be Rejected For Mortgages Than Straight Couples: Study

Same-sex partners are more than twice as likely to be denied a loan than heterosexual couples with similar finances without any evidence of higher risk, according to a new study.

Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business researchers analyzed more than 30 million U.S. home loans between 1990 and 2015 and found that same-sex partners were 73 percent more likely to be denied a mortgage.

For those same-sex borrowers who received a home loan, fees averaged 0.2 percentage points more than other mortgages, totaling about $86 million a year, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

The financial penalties didn’t just affect the couples themselves,

According to researchers, the financial penalties didn’t just affect the couples themselves. The rejection rates and fees rose for other borrows when more same-sex couples applied for loans in a neighborhood.

“Lenders can justify higher fees, if there is greater risk,” study co-author Lei Gao, an assistant professor of finance at the university, said in a statement. “We found nothing to indicate that’s the case. In fact, our findings weakly suggest same-sex borrowers may perform better.”

According to co-author Hua Sun, an associate professor of finance, the new findings indicate sexual orientation should be a protected class as a method of limiting potential discrimination.

“Policymakers need to guarantee same-sex couples have equal access to credit,” he said. “Using our framework, credit monitoring agencies also can take steps to investigate unfair lending practices.”