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Mass. No. 1 for neighborhoods with most same-sex couples

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis June 18, 2012 09:07 AM

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Welcome to the Gayborhood! That, anyway, was the somewhat tacky headline of an otherwise interesting Trulia report that recently landed in my inbox.

Trulia used census figures to track what neighborhoods across the country have the highest percentage of same-sex couples.

Massachusetts comes out with top honors. Four neighborhoods/towns landed on the top-ten list of communities with the highest percentage of same-sex female couples.

The top three neighborhoods/zip codes with the highest percentage of same-sex female couples are all in Massachusetts, with Provincetown followed by Northampton and Jamaica Plain. Wellfleet follows at No. 7.

Provincetown made the top-ten list for both same-sex male and female couples, no surprise there. Male couples account for 11.5 percent of households in town, while female couples account for 5.1 percent.

In fact, Provincetown trails only Castro in San Francisco and Palm Springs when it comes to highest percentage of households headed by same-sex male couples.

All of these towns and neighborhoods, coincidentally or not, are great places to live. But as is typically the case, if it's a great place to live, it can cost big bucks as well.

The median price per square foot in Provincetown is a hefty $532, while Jamaica Plain and Welfleet weigh in at $304 and $340 respectively. It makes Northhampton, at $187 a square foot, look like a relative bargain.

Here's Trulia's take on the cost issue:

Across these metros and the US overall, the common pattern is that gay men tend to live in more expensive areas. The typical same-sex male couple lives in a ZIP code with a median price per square foot of $208, compared with $139 for same-sex female couples and $127 for all households. Why are gay couples ? especially male couples -- in expensive neighborhoods? A big reason is that same-sex couples are less likely to have kids: 10% of same-sex male couples and 24% of same-sex female couples have kids in the house, compared with 41% of all married and unmarried couples. Couples without kids need less space and therefore are better able to afford desirable, expensive urban neighborhoods, as one academic paper found. At the same time, gay men contribute to the gentrification of many urban neighborhoods: another academic paper showed that home prices rise faster in neighborhoods with higher concentrations of gay couples. But even the most expensive big cities have relatively affordable neighborhoods for gay couples. Happy Pride!

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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