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Mortgage, but Hold the Marriage: Survey Finds One-third of Americans Have Bought a Home Together without Getting Hitched

February 13 2022

Money matters more than relationship status when it comes to feeling ready to buy a home

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 9, 2022 -- Love isn't in the air with every homebuyer, and many are making the decision to dive into homeownership without putting a ring on it. Realtor.com today released the results of a new survey with HarrisX which found that homebuying isn't just for married couples. Nearly 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 telling – 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. Many buyers have needed more than one income to afford a home, especially as rising rents may be eating into their down payment savings," said Clare Trapasso, Deputy News Editor, Realtor.com®. "However, the pandemic delayed many weddings. 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 break into the market

More than three quarters (76%) of survey respondents said that the optimal age to buy a home is before the age of 35 – but it's not easy to go it alone. In order to break into a housing market with sky-high prices and limited homes for sale, many Americans are open to buying with friends, roommates and even extended family members. Who's buying together? The most common co-buyers are romantic partners, but friends, extended family and even roommates are buying together. 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%)

Would you buy a home with grandma?

The majority of people surveyed (55%) would be open to buying a home with someone they're not married to. Here's who they would consider buying with:

  • 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%)

Pooling resources can make it easier to buy

Two heads are often better than one, and so are two salaries. Here are the reasons that so many people are open to buying a home with someone other than a spouse:

  • 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%)

No partner? No problem. Finances are most important in feeling ready to buy a home

Americans say the most important aspect of being ready to buy a home is more about money than relationship status. The top milestones mentioned were feeling financially ready (71%), feeling stable career-wise (63%) and having enough money saved for a down payment (61%). These career- and money-oriented milestones were cited 2x to 3x more often than being married or in a serious relationship.

Search together, or get feedback from friends and family

Whether buying with a partner, a friend, or going solo, Realtor.com® offers unique product features to streamline and simplify the process of finding the perfect home. Collaborate & share features let home shoppers work together with a partner in a shared search or ask for input from friends and family, all while keeping track of the details in one convenient spot.

Users can invite a co-buyer or renter from the "buyer profile" tab in their Realtor.com® account or by clicking the "collaborate" button at the top of their saved homes list. No co-buyer? No problem. To request one-off input from friends, family, and even your real estate agent, simply click "share" on a listing and enter email addresses, phone numbers or social media handles.

Survey methodology:

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. The results reflect a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Results were weighted for age by gender, region, race/ethnicity, and income where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

About Realtor.com®

Realtor.com® makes buying, selling, renting and living in homes easier and more rewarding for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 20 years ago, and today through its website and mobile apps is a trusted source for the information, tools and professional expertise that help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. Using proprietary data science and machine learning technology, Realtor.com® pairs buyers and sellers with local agents in their market, helping take the guesswork out of buying and selling a home. For professionals, Realtor.com® is a trusted provider of consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today's on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit Realtor.com.