There’s no question that house hunting has become more of an endurance test than an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday morning, with first home buyers and investors battling it out at auction, and property prices on a continuous upwards trajectory.
But recent CoreLogic research suggests your chances of overcoming the financial hurdles (and emerging with your sanity intact) are far greater if you’re part of a couple.
According to the Perceptions of Housing Affordability report, couples (64 per cent) are around twice as likely to own a property compared to those on their own (33 per cent) with singles getting a raw deal on both a financial and psychological level almost every step of the way.
A financial and psychological advantage
Financially, both first home buyers and upgraders have been feeling the squeeze in recent years, with almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of Australians believing housing affordability has deteriorated over the past 12 months.
And the evidence supports their theory. Nationally, properties in our capitals have risen by 10.9 per cent in the past year alone, impacting both stamp duty and deposit requirements.
Yet, couples appear to fare better, helped in many cases by a double income making it easier to conquer the initial financial hurdles. Getting a loan is more stressful done solo with 43 per cent of singles stating it was a large impediment compared with 34 per cent of couples. Similarly, meeting repayments is regarded as a large or huge impediment for 42 per cent of singles, but just 33 per cent of couples.
And then there’s the psychological stress to contend with. Singles were more likely than couples to show concern about buying their next home (80 per cent and 74 per cent respectively), and nominate job security as a barrier to affordability (44 per cent of singles compared to 39 per cent of couples).
Buying property is a huge investment and having someone to share the burden at key decision points, empathise with the challenges you’re trying to overcome, and help you navigate the real estate maze, particularly for the first time, can’t be underestimated.
Strength in numbers
With the benefit that coupledom appears to deliver, it’s perhaps no surprise that individuals without a partner may recruit a friend or family member to help them get on the ladder sooner rather than later.
One in five (22 per cent) singles (particularly Millennials) say they would consider it, compared to just over 1 in 10 (13 per cent) of those in a married or de-facto relationship.
If impediments to affordability continue to make it harder for would-be buyers, it’s easy to see how the trend for coupling up – romantically or otherwise – could be an attractive proposition for prospective property owners. Indeed, for many who want to get on the ladder, it could be the only viable option.