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Co-Buying Has Skyrocketed in Last 7 Years

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

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

The trend has especially taken 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®. That is up from 9% and 2%, respectively, from 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 is not 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 is increasingly burdening young adults, hampering their ability to afford a home. Half of the potential home buyers surveyed this year say they haven’t bought yet because of student debt, according to a report by the National Association of REALTORS® and Morning Consult. Millennials are the most likely to point to student debt for delaying homeownership.

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

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