New research explores the emerging trend of Brits choosing to buy and live in homes with friends, rather than with a partner or on their own.
According to the research from Furniture Choice, 38% of UK adults would consider buying a house with a friend, with the most common motive being that they are unable to afford a property by themselves (54%), as well as not having a partner to buy with (42%).
However, financial limitations or lack of a partner aren’t the only factors when choosing to buy with a friend; one in three (35%) would just rather live with a friend than on their own, but still want the stability of homeownership.
This trend is particularly prevalent in younger adults; almost half (45%) of 18 - 24-year-olds have thought about buying a home with friends in the past, and 50% are considering doing so. In fact, one in ten (10%) from this age group say they would trust a friend more than a partner when it comes to making such a big commitment.
Felicity Brown, 24, bought a house with two friends in South East London. “We chose to buy a house as a three, as otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to buy a property.
The purchase process was pretty stressful; at the time there was only one lender in the whole of the UK that offered three-way mortgages, and it was hard to find properties with three similar sized bedrooms.
However, it’s definitely worth the stress; it’s great having my own place, and I love living with my friends. I’d definitely recommend people do so, although with a few caveats! You need to be very confident in your friendship, and have similar expectations and tastes. We drew up an agreement outside of the required legalities between ourselves, such as not allowing partners to move in; any disagreements we have are reverted back to this ‘contract’ and no one can argue over it!”
Rebecca Snowdon, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture Choice, added: “Buying furniture for your first home is an incredibly exciting experience, and having someone with similar tastes can make the process much easier - not to mention avoid a clashing of decors!
We’d recommend agreeing beforehand on an overall style or theme, and purchasing the big pieces, such as sofas, together so you both feel involved. Creating a moodboard can be a fun way of ensuring you’re both on the same page.”
The research also revealed what Brits think will encourage more people to buy with friends or siblings. According to respondents, having government-backed schemes (48%) such as the Lifetime ISA, encouragement from banks and estate agents (29%), and ensuring that regulations are easy to research (27%) on this type of joint mortgage are the main incentives that would encourage individuals to buy with friends.
Tom Obbard, Director at Furniture Choice, commented on this trend: “A few decades ago, just cohabiting was unimaginable - it was marriage, or no go. Adults nowadays are much more relaxed about the relationship between having a family and owning a house, and as high prices means it’s difficult to buy alone, it’s refreshing to see individuals turn to friends in order to get on the property ladder.
It’s good to see that people prefer to be friends for a certain amount of time before deciding to do so. Similar choices in lifestyle and even trivial things such as interior decor preference are all important when buying a house together, and having a strong friendship and understanding of each other's likes and dislikes can lubricate the process and prevent any fallouts.”