Millennials have been praised for their low divorce rate, and now housing data shows why that may be the case. According to a recent survey by LendingTree, up to 25% of millennial couples want to buy a home together before they get married. With 19.2% of couples say they divorced due to incompatibility, Millenials are finding that cohabitation before marriage is allowing them to commit with more confidence.
Researchers conducted a survey of 2,095 Americans who are considering buying a house within the next two years. Participants took the survey between March 11 and March 15, 2019.
“Many people used to get married, and then buy a home or have a baby,” said Tendayi Kapfidze, the chief economist of LendingTree. “Often times buying a home was triggered by these life events, but now people are getting married much later and having children much later.”
In 1980, the average age of a woman when she first got married was 22 years and 24.7 years for a man. Now, nearly 40 years later, the average ages are 27.8 years for women and 29.8 for men.
This age shift is partially due to changing social expectations and partially due to the Great Recession. Millennials are more likely to cohabitate together for years prior to marriage and are less likely to take financial risks such as spending large sums of money on their wedding.
Delaying marriage isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. Approximately 40% to 50% of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Millennial couples’ cohabitations prior to marriage have been bringing the divorce rate down by 18%.
But it isn’t just marriage millennials are putting off. Approximately 27% of millennials said they’re also putting off having children until they buy a home. Another 22% said they were putting off getting a pet and 17% said they were holding off on changing jobs.
Kapfidze says this may be because first-time homebuyers often have misconceptions about the home buying process such as how long it takes to close on a house. However, this delay may also be due to first-time buyers’ being on poor loan terms and trying to get their finances together before making any other major changes.
Millennials have significant student loan debt despite being a generation that’s good at saving money. It’s understandable then that 26% of first-time homebuyers have poor credit, according to the LendingTree survey, and only 15% have a credit score of 740 or higher.
With rental costs on the rise, buying a home even with poor credit may give millennials the financial leg up they need to make those major life changes such as getting married and changing careers.