Marriage and homeownership have long gone hand in hand. If you’re a husband or a wife, your likelihood of owning property swells by nearly 20 percentage points, according to the Urban Institute.
But millennials, born between 1981 and 1997, are less likely to get married than their parents and grandparents, and when they do, it’s often later in life.
In 1960, the average age women and men first married was in their early 20s; today, the median age for a first marriage is closer to 30. Millennials are three times as likely to have never married as members of the Silent Generation — those in their 70s and 80s — when they were young.
But even without saying, “I do,” many young people still want to become homeowners, to begin building wealth and to walk away from the uncertainty of renting.
Unmarried couples accounted for 16 percent of first-time homebuyers in 2017, the highest share on record, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Single men and women accounted for a quarter of first-time homebuyers. Today, just 57 percent of first-time homebuyers are married, compared with 75 percent in 1985.
“It’s absolutely a trend,” said Jessica Lautz, the REALTORS®’ managing director of survey research. “People feel fine purchasing a home without a ring.”