Couples are staying together just to get a property

Aug 5th 2017

It seems that people are willing to sacrifice their happiness in an effort to own their own homes. New research by L&C Mortgages found that millions of UK adults are staying in relationships simply so that they can buy a house faster.

• 1.8 million (3%) of UK adults have stayed in a relationship purely to afford a first property
• this is expected to rise to 7% of UK adults planning to buy in the next five years
• 11% of non-homeowners would consider staying in a relationship to get on the first rung

The survey also revealed that 44% of people who had stayed with their partner to afford a mortgage or deposit, stuck around in the relationship more than a year longer than they would have if buying a home were not on the cards. Around 40% are currently still with their partner just so they can live comfortably.

Londoners and Chiswickians

The average price of a first home in the UK hit a record high this year, at £207,693, 50 per cent higher than in 2012. Naturally, it’s worse news for Londoners, for whom the average home costs £410,000. In Chiswick the average cost hovers around the £1,000,000 mark though this figure is skewed by several multi-million pound transactions.

The mounting troubles faced by first-time buyers are laid bare in the Government’s most recent English Housing Survey.

• first-time buyers in England had to stump up an average deposit of nearly £50,000 – while Londoners required twice that amount.
• the number of first-time buyer households in England has plummeted from 922,000 two decades ago to 654,000 in 2015-16.
• three-quarters (74%) of first-time buyers in 2015-16 were in ‘couple households’ – up from 66% 10 years ago.

If you do consider buying a house with a significant someone, make sure contracts are drawn up and both parties are very clear about who gets what in the event of a split. Has the other person been paying rent? Or been contributing to the mortgage?

These questions are more difficult to resolve in a time of emotional turmoil. The Money Advice Service gives useful tips for partners needing to divide the family home after divorce and separation. The situation will depend on whether you are married and how you own your home.