You can share a home with a significant other without marrying them — many already are

First comes a mortgage, then comes marriage? If you’re looking to spend the rest of your life with someone, try splitting home payments with them first.

Young, unwed couples are buying homes faster than they were a decade ago. While married couples still make up the bulk of homebuyers, 15 percent are couples that aren’t married, real estate site Zillow says.

“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 Zillow chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “That makes buying a home with a significant other even more appealing, even if marriage isn’t quite part of the picture.”

While singles are buying homes at higher rates than young, unwed couples; 25 percent to 15 percent in 2015, respectively — the single rate is going down. In 2005, 28 percent of 24-35-year-olds were buying homes, a three percent difference.

The rate of unwed couples and single homebuyers are vastly different depending on where you live. Washington D.C. had the highest rate increase of unmarried homebuyer couples — 16 percent in 2015 — which is more than double what it was in 2005: 7.5 percent.

“As homes become increasingly expensive, the need to purchase a home with someone else becomes a necessity — almost 75 percent of all buyers are married or in a relationship,” Zillow says.

The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area saw a drop in unwed couples purchasing homes together. In 2005, it was 8.7 percent. In 2015, it was 5.7 percent. Due to the growing economy, some metro areas that weren’t tracked in 2005 were tracked in 2015. Areas like Las Vegas, St. Louis, and Portland, Oregon became hotspots for young, unwed couples. Las Vegas has the most unmarried homebuyers: 23.8 percent.

Mr. and Ms. Independent

While the number of single homebuyers took a drop nationwide, there were some areas across the country that saw an increase. In Cleveland, Ohio, more than 36 percent of homebuyers in 2015 were single. In Indianapolis and Cincinnati, it was more than 35 percent; just more than 34 percent in Sacramento; and in Charlotte, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Chicago, it was more than 33 percent of homebuyers who were single in 2015.

While Las Vegas had the most young, unwed couples buying homes together, the city also had the greatest drop in single homebuyers, from 47 percent in 2005 to 27.4 percent in 2015.

“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. “Buying a home is much easier with two incomes. Assuming home value growth continues to outpace income growth, I imagine this trend will continue.”

The demand for homes continues to go up and potential homeowners are increasingly worried about being able to a home. While the rate of single homeownership is going down, married couples still take the reigns. But unwed millennial couples are on the rise and with the high demand of homes only going up, so will the rate of this group.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Family, Home

couples, homebuyers, homeowners, marriage, real estate

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Article last modified on February 21, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: You Don’t Need Marriage to Buy a Home - AMP.