Young people aged 18 to 24 years that are in relationships believe that buying a property or renting a place as a couple is a bigger statement of loyalty than marriage, property buyer Good Move has found.
When asked to rank a series of traditional milestones on their required commitment, marriage came a lowly fourth for the age group. Meanwhile for all ages, marriage/civil partnership was placed as the top relationship milestone, followed by starting a family and buying a property came third.
Ross Counsell, director at Good Move, said: “Buying a house together is a huge decision for couples, not just because of the significant financial commitment, but if the relationship comes to an end, it can be incredibly complicated and stressful to deal with the logistics.
“With recent changes to divorce legislation making it easier to end marriages, buying a house is now understandably seen as the primary relationship milestone.
“It’s why so many Brits want to live with their partner first before committing to buying anywhere. Our research found that nearly two-thirds of Brits in relationships would only buy a property together if they’d trialled co-habiting first and that’s a really sensible way to approach the situation.”
With such significance placed on buying a property together – 25-34-year-olds and 35-44-year-oldss both rank it equally with marriage – it’s perhaps unsurprising that many people in relationships have ‘break up plans’ for what to do with their joint house should things turn sour.
Nearly two in five (39%) Brits in relationships admit to having made such pessimistic preparations, with younger generations the most likely.
Over half (53%) of 25-34-year-olds said that they have a plan for dealing with the potential property logistics of splitting up with their partner.
The fear of break-ups and the difficulty of dividing assets is enough to dissuade some Brits from buying houses altogether.
Nearly one in five (18%) adults in relationships said that they wouldn’t buy a property with their partner in case they split up.
Again, this stance is most popular with younger Brits, with over a third (36%) of 25-34-year-olds and a quarter (25%) of 18-24s put off buying for such a reason.
On average, Brits wait nearly two years and two months before purchasing a property as a couple. This is slightly longer than the average wait for weddings, two years and one month, despite the nation as a whole considering marriage a bigger commitment.