America's 5 Most Gay-Friendly Housing Markets

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- June is LGBT Pride Month, and whether you're gay or just "straight but not narrow," here's a look at the five U.S. communities that The Advocate magazine recently named as America's Gayest Cities.

"These places are welcoming, open, friendly and just have a great quality-of-life component to them," says Matthew Breen of The Advocate, which bills itself as America's oldest publication for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.

The magazine has compiled its annual list of America's gayest cities for nearly a decade, but doesn't focus on obvious metrics such as local LGBT population size or antidiscrimination laws.

Instead, editors look at offbeat measures such as which cities have roller-derby teams or host concerts by the cast of Glee. "We try to shake it up each year and be a bit cheeky," says Breen, who serves as the magazine's editor in chief.

This year, The Advocate analyzed major U.S. cities for 10 gay-friendly factors that ranged from the per-capita number of local LGBT elected officials to whether a community hosts a gay rodeo association. (Yes, there are such groups.)

Communities got extra points for local nightclubs that made Out magazine's annual list of the world's 200 best gay bars, as well as for how often Lady Gaga or other LGBT-friendly singers performed in town last year.

Breen says gays aren't the only people who might like living in a city that scores well on The Advocate's annual rundown. "Many of the criteria that we use are not literally 'gay,'" he says. "Concerts or roller-derby teams are all things that lots of straight people would be interested in too."

Read on to check out the five cities that topped this year's annual rankings, along with some information about each community's housing market. Median list prices refer to asking prices for all residences listed as of April (the latest month with data available) on Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors' official property-listing site.

America's Fifth-Gayest City: Atlanta

Even though it's deep in the heart of conservative Dixie, Atlanta has long had a reputation as one of America's most gay-friendly cities.

Famously gay musician Elton John lives there part time, while Breen says "Hotlanta" hosts some of America's largest annual gay pride and black gay pride celebrations. "Atlanta is a great contrast to a lot of the conservative areas that surround it," he says.

The city also has several openly gay local elected officials, as well as five of Out magazine's 200 Best Gay Bars in the World. The Advocate also gives Georgia's most-populous city extra credit for hosting one all-women's college (Spelman) and a concert last year by gay-friendly singer Pink.

If moving to the ATL sounds A-OK to you, Realtor.com says the typical home there lists for $197.500. You can check out some 8,500 available properties here.

America's Fourth-Gayest City: Cambridge, Mass.

Harvard University's hometown elected America's first openly gay black male mayor in 1992, followed by the country's first black openly lesbian mayor in 2008.

And while no Cambridge nightspot made Out magazine's list of top gay bars, Advocate editors give the Boston suburb high marks for everything from the Paradise club's nightly live male dancers to ZuZu restaurant's weekly "Queer Dance Party."

Breen adds that Cambridge's relatively small number of residents (106,000) helps the community score well on the Advocate's rankings, which take each city's population level into account. "Cambridge is a small town [compared with big cities such as Atlanta], so it gets good points relative to its population," he says.

Realtor.com doesn't break out median asking prices for Cambridge homes, but says the typical Greater Boston residence lists for $359,900. Click here to see more than 100 Cambridge listings.

America's Third-Gayest City: Seattle

Seattle's gay culture is even hotter than the Emerald City's famous coffee.

Breen says the LGBT-friendly Capitol Hill neighborhood "is a great area for gay bars and clubs," while Seattle is home to five of Out magazine's top 200 gay clubs.  Pink and Mariah Carey also performed in town last year.

Washington state's most-populous community also has one of America's highest per-capita levels of lesbian households (0.9%), while nearly a dozen openly gay elected officials hold local offices.

Those interested in moving to Seattle can expect to find homes there list for a median $380,000, with Realtor.com showing some 1,700 local properties for sale.

America's Second-Gayest City: Pasadena, Calif.

Who knew The Little Old Lady from Pasadena was gay?

This Los Angeles suburb -- which Breen describes as "a kind of bedroom community for gays" -- gets high marks for having some gay elected local officials despite a relatively small population (139,000 people).

The community also gets a thumbs up as the home of several LGBT-friendly churches, one long-lived gay bar and the popular Pasadena Lesbian Book Club.

Breen adds that antiques-loving LGBTs will positively flip for the Rose Bowl Flea Market, a giant yard sale held once a month at the Rose Bowl football stadium. "[It's] arguably the best flea market in the world," he says.

Those thinking of moving to Pasadena can find some 600 property listings here. Realtor.com doesn't calculate median asking prices for just Pasadena, but says the typical Los Angeles-area home lists for $472,000.

America's Gayest City: Washington

The politicians may fight about LGBT rights on Capitol Hill, but Breen says Washington's army of young congressional staffers include plenty of gay and LGBT-friendly members.

"You're finding a lot more [openly gay] people as staffers and a lot more inclusiveness of LGBTs by young people whether they're in politics or not," the editor says.

The gay-friendly Dupont Circle neighborhood has lots of LGBT-centric culture, while Out magazine counts two D.C.-area establishments among the world's 200 best gay nightspots.

Washington also has more than a dozen local elected gay officials and gets extra points as the home of both a women's college (Trinity Washington University) and the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association.

If moving to Washington sounds like a capital idea to you, expect to pay around $419,900 for a typical residence there. Click here for a look at some 2,000 local listings.

 

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