TRENDING: More Unmarried Couples Buying New Homes Together

Zillow finds this group accounts for almost 15% of purchases by those under 35 years old.

In trending news, More unmarried couples are buying new homes together…In the 1970s, there were what were called POSSLQ’s (pronounced possil-queue), at least by the Census Bureau, an acronym for “persons of opposite sex sharing living quarters.” Sounds quaint today. But hold on a minute. We may need a new acronym, this one for unmarried persons owning homes together. UPOHTs, perhaps?

The share of young unmarried couples buying homes together has been on the rise over the past decade, according to a new Zillow® analysis revealed Wednesday. Across the country, almost 15% of all home buyers age 24-35 are unmarried couples, up from 11% in 2005.
Of the markets analyzed, Washington, D.C. had the greatest increase in the share of unmarried home-buyer couples — almost 16% of all young home buyers in D.C. are unmarried couples, up from 7.5% in 2005. Philadelphia and Miami also had large increases in the share of young unmarried couples buying homes together.

The majority of home buyers have long been married couples, but as home values continue to rise, more unmarried couples are buying homes together since it’s more affordable with two incomes.

“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,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “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. 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.”

While more unmarried couples are buying homes together, fewer singles are purchasing homes on their own. About 25% of all home buyers age 24-35 are single, down from 28% in 2005.

Columbus, Ohio had the greatest drop in the share of single home buyers, followed by Las Vegas. In 2005, almost 40% of all young Columbus home buyers were single. Now, it’s less than 20%. Portland, Ore., which has the fastest home value growth in the country, has also had a large drop in the share of young singles buying homes — there’s been a 10 percentage point decline since 2005.

The median age of today’s home buyer is 36 years old, and the majority shop with a significant other, according to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. Millennials, age 18-34, make up 42% of all buyers today — the largest share of all generational groups.

Builder Online, Feb. 2017