More young homebuyers today are unmarried couples—in fact, according to a recent analysis by Zillow, 15 percent of homebuyers aged 24-35 are unmarried couples, up 4 percent from 2005. The trend, says Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell, is taking off due to limited affordability, compounded by out-of-reach home values.
"Buying a home is a big part of the American Dream—equally shared by millennials and baby boomers alike—but it's becoming extremely difficult to make it work on a single income," Gudell says.
Seventy-five percent of all homebuyers are in a relationship or married, according to Zillow, and the majority hunted for a house with a significant other.
Other studies have indicated similar shifts away from conventional milestones related to homeownership. One report reveals 25 percent of married millennial couples purchased their home together before their wedding day.
Where are unmarried couples taking the plunge? Las Vegas—coincidentally—had the highest share of unmarried homebuyers in 2015, at 23.8 percent, followed by Philadelphia at 23.4 percent and St. Louis at 19.9 percent. Portland, Ore., where home values appreciated the most in 2016 at 13.8 percent, also saw a considerable amount of unmarried homebuyers take to the market: 19.4 percent.
As more unmarried couples become homeowners, however, less singles do the same. Twenty-five percent of homebuyers aged 23-25 are single, compared to 28 percent in 2005, according to the analysis.
"Many singles looking to purchase a home on their own may not make enough money to afford or qualify for a mortgage on their dream home," says Gudell. "That makes buying a home with a significant other even more appealing, even if marriage isn't quite part of the picture. Simply put, buying a home is much easier with two incomes. Assuming home value growth continues to outpace income growth, I imagine this trend will continue."
For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.