Marriage or Mortgage?

by Mark Johnston

Marriage or Mortgage?

In the current financial climate it appears that more and more young people currently living within the UK now see the purchase of a house together as a bigger commitment in life than marriage.

According to the post office financial services a third of us are taking the property plunge before walking down the aisle, especially so in those who already rent together.

Mike Cook, head of mortgages at the post office, said “with many first time buyers finding it hard to get on the property ladder, for some couples buying a house together before marriage is out of financial necessity, rather than just ‘playing house’”.

As the average mortgage currently stands at around £160,000 and it is repaid generally over a 25 year period. It is unsurprising that many couples consider buying a home together to be a significant sign of commitment.

A survey recently carried out by the Halifaxsuggested that 28 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds in the country think that taking out a mortgage and buying their first piece of UK property with their partner represents a large statement.

The average deposit for a house can cost approximately £16,000, while a traditional wedding can cost in the region of £20,000.

Therefore many couples are now opting for a smaller wedding or even delaying it in order to save to buy their first home.

A survey from Barclays bank agreed with this by showing that 52 per cent of those polled would rather use their savings on a deposit for a house than on a big traditional wedding.

The same research did however, some what surprisingly, found that there were more men than women , 16 per cent of men compared to 9 per cent of women, who would prefer a big wedding even if it delayed them getting onto the property ladder.

Recent statistics revealed that there is a difference between the ages when it comes to home buying with partners. With only around one in four 25 to 34 year olds were married when they bought their home with their partner compared to nearly three in four 35 to 44 year olds.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that there is a generational divide in this particular issue with over two thirds of the over 55s, who already owned their own home, saying  that marriage is a greater commitment than buying a property with a partner.

Stephen Noakes, mortgage director at the Halifax, suggests that “it is interesting to see how different age groups see the market differently”.

Although, some experts believe that it is certainly an alternative and practical way to show commitment to each other, and for many couples buying together is frankly the only way they will get on to the housing ladder.

In conclusion, buying a property is arguably as big a commitment as marriage. It can certainly take longer and be more expensive to get out if couples make the wrong decision. Therefore couples thinking about buying a house together should be sure that when they say ‘I do’ they really know what they are getting themselves in to.



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