Homeownership Increasing Among Platonic & Unmarried Partners

New York, NY, October 11, 2021-First-time homebuyers are partnering with friends, roommates and partners to achieve homeownership, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Six months into the pandemic, Veronica Vest was having a serious home-buying urge. 

“Ms. Vest, a 27-year-old project engineer, was tired of having to share a building with others, sick of paying rent and building no home equity-and dreaming of stretching her legs in her very own backyard.

“She and her boyfriend made an appointment to view a three-bedroom home for sale in Portland, Ore., but, she says, they ‘freaked out and canceled it.’ It was too expensive for them, and there was always the risk they could break up.

“Then her friend Tara Takano, a 32-year-old sales-support lead, had a thought. ‘Me and you should buy it together lol,’ she texted.

“It was just a joke-until it wasn’t. The women had stable jobs, good credit scores and total trust in each other. Two months and several viewings later, they picked up the keys to a new house.

“For millennials, many of whom are getting married later in life, swimming in student-loan debt and facing soaring home prices, homeownership can feel more like a fantasy than an achievable goal. So, some first-time home buyers are taking a more creative route to make it happen-by pooling their finances with partners, friends or roommates. 

“Tara Takano and Veronica Vest, celebrating the purchase of their Portland home with friends, drafted a co-buying agreement based on an online template and issues they learned in a community-college class on home buying.

“Since 2014, when millennials became the largest share of home buyers in the U.S., the number of home and condo sales across the country by co-buyers has soared. The number of co-buyers with different last names increased by 771% between 2014 and 2021, according to data from real-estate analytics firm Attom Data Solution. 

“The pandemic added fuel to that trend, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Among all age groups during the early pandemic months-April to June 2020-11% of buyers purchased as an unmarried couple and 3% as ‘other’ (essentially, roommates). Those numbers were up from 9% and 2%, respectively, in the previous year.

“A desire for more working and breathing room coupled with high housing prices may have driven this upward trend, says Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for NAR. ‘During the pandemic, people have been renting and they may have wanted more space,’ Dr. Lautz says, ‘and so they looked at, perhaps, their roommate and decided, ‘Let’s go buy a home together.’’”