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Valentine’s Day: Love Is Alive but Marriages Dip

Love and marriage once drove home sales, especially for first-time buyers, but a survey finds 1 in 3 buyers today (31%) is single – 41% for adults age 18 to 34.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Even on Valentine’s Day, love isn’t in the air with every homebuyer, and many dive into homeownership without putting a ring on it.

A new Harris Survey released by realtor.com finds that almost one third (31%) of all Americans and 41% of 18-34 year-olds have bought a primary residence with someone they aren’t married to.

Perhaps even more notable: 55% of Americans and 68% of 18-34 year-olds would consider it.

“With home prices skyrocketing in recent years, it’s become even more challenging to break into the housing market for first-time buyers,” says Clare Trapasso, deputy news editor for realtor.com. Many buyers need two incomes to afford a home and rising rents make that even harder to do.

“However, the pandemic delayed many weddings,” she says. “And rising prices forced some couples to choose between saving to become homeowners versus having the big day. This has resulted in many unmarried couples, as well as extended families and friends, pooling their resources together so they can afford to become homeowners.”

Teaming up to buy a home

Three out of four (76%) survey respondents said the optimal time to buy a home is before age 35 – but it’s not easy to go it alone. In order to break into a housing market, many Americans are open to buying with friends, roommates and extended family members. Here are the most likely candidates:

  • Romantic partner, not engaged or married (15%)
  • Parent, grandparent or older relative (6%)
  • Child, niece/nephew or younger relative (5%)
  • Sibling, cousin or relative of a similar age (4%)
  • Roommate (4%)
  • Friend (4%)

Who would you consider buying a home with?

Most people (55%) would be willing to consider a co-home buying arrangement. When asked about relationships they prefer for that major purchase, they said:

  • Romantic partner, not engaged or married (27%)
  • Child, niece/nephew or younger relative (20%)
  • Parent, grandparent or older relative (17%)
  • Sibling, cousin or relative of a similar age (16%)
  • Friend (10%)
  • Roommate (7%)

Why would you consider co-ownership?

Two salaries go further than one. When asked why they’d be willing to co-buy a home sooner than going it alone later, respondents gave these reasons:

  • Starting to build equity sooner (32%)
  • Buying in a better location (31%)
  • Buying a bigger home (31%)
  • Buying a more updated home (31%)
  • Pooling resources to get into the housing market sooner (27%)

Respondents said the most important aspect of “I’m ready to buy a home” focuses more on money than relationship status. The top milestones mentioned were two to three times more important to them than being married or in a serious relationship:

  • Feeling financially ready (71%),
  • Feeling stable career-wise (63%)
  • Having enough money saved for a down payment (61%)

This survey was conducted online within the United States from Jan. 31 - Feb. 1 among 1,003 adults by HarrisX. The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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