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Can’t Afford a Home? Co-buying Skyrockets

More roommates are committing to long-term relationships and co-buying a home. ATTOM says the number of co-buyers with different last names surged 771% in six years.

SAN FRANCISCO – Millennials are pooling finances with roommates, friends and significant others to buy a home together.

The number of home and condo sales by co-buyers is increasing, according to research from ATTOM Data Solutions. The number of co-buyers with different last names surged by a whopping 771% between 2014 and 2021.

The trend especially took off during the pandemic. From April to June 2020, 11% of buyers purchased as an unmarried couple and 3% as “other” (e.g., roommates), according to data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). That’s up from 9% and 2%, respectively, in 2019.

“During the pandemic, people have been renting and they may have wanted more space, and so they looked at, perhaps, their roommate and decided, ‘Let’s go buy a home together,” Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for NAR, told The Wall Street Journal.

But affording a home isn’t easy for a first-time buyer. The median existing-home price for all housing types was $356,700 in August, up nearly 15% from a year earlier.

Besides the higher costs to buy, student loan debt increasingly burdens young adults, hampering their ability to afford a home. Half of the potential homebuyers surveyed this year say they haven’t bought yet because of student debt, according to a report by NAR and Morning Consult. Millennials are the most likely to point to student debt as a top reason for delaying homeownership.

Those with student loan debt are still finding ways to buy, though. In addition to co-buying, for example, they may apply for a mortgage with a co-signer such as a family member to help improve their credit status.

Source: “Millennials Team Up to Fulfill the Dream of Homeownership,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 11, 2021) [Log-in required.]

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