For Love or Money? Survey Finds Housing Costs Impact Romantic Decisions
Real Estate In-Depth | February 14, 2023
SANTA CLARA, CA—Moving in with a romantic partner is a big step and shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, when it comes to taking the next step in their relationship, a Realtor.com survey released today indicated 63% of people who have moved in with a romantic partner said that their decision was impacted by finances and/or logistics.
The Realtor.com and HarrisX survey of 3,009 consumers found that younger respondents were significantly more likely to be persuaded by money/logistics with 80% of Gen Z and 76% of Millennials saying that one or both of these things were a factor in moving in with a romantic partner. This is compared to 56% of Gen X and 44% of Baby Boomers who said the same thing.
“Living with a romantic partner might bring a couple closer together, but it can also magnify potential issues in a relationship,” said Clare Trapasso, Executive News Editor, Realtor.com. “While the idea of splitting the rent or mortgage can be very attractive, it’s important to have tough conversations with your partner and think through how living together will work before you take the plunge.”
Unsurprisingly, among those who factored finances and/or logistics into their decision to move in with a partner, Gen Z respondents (56%)—who have faced notoriously high housing costs in their lifetime—were the most likely to say that saving money by splitting the rent/mortgage was a contributing factor. Additionally, 70% of all respondents who have moved in with a partner reported that they were able to save money by moving in. The most common amounts saved per month were:
$1- $500 (27%)
$501 – $1,000 (20%)
$1,001 – $2,000 (13%)
$2,001 – $5,000 (6%)
More than $5,000 (4%)
A significant percentage of respondents who have moved in with a partner moved into a home that one person already rented (37%) or owned (21%), while 30% decided to start fresh with a new rental and 9% took the leap directly into buying a home together.
Don’t Go Breaking my Heart
Not all relationships work out and living with a partner isn’t always easy. Forty-two percent of people who have moved in with a romantic partner ended up regretting the move. Reasons included:
• The relationship didn’t work out (48%).
• We moved too fast/rushed the decision (31%).
• Realized we weren’t compatible for co-living (27%).
• It made it harder to break up (26%).
• When we broke up it was stressful to divide the things that we had purchased together (22%).
• The stress of living together hurt our relationship (22%).
• The logistics of moving out after a breakup were too difficult (19%).
• We broke up soon after moving in together (17%).
“When you’re renting or purchasing real estate together, it’s important to make sure you’re both financially protected,” said Trapasso. “For example, if you’re buying a home together as an unmarried couple, it may be a good idea to chat with a real estate attorney first to figure out what would happen with the home in the event that you broke up.”
Will You Accept This Contract?
Nearly a third (31%) of survey respondents who have moved in with a partner signed a contract outlining what would happen in the event of a break-up. Younger respondents were significantly more likely to have signed a contract, with 54% of Gen Z and 47% of Millennials doing so. This suggests that younger generations might be more financially and/or legally savvy and understand the importance of protecting their investments.
The survey was conducted online from Feb. 1-4, 2023 among 3,009 adults in the U.S. by HarrisX. The sampling margin of error of this poll is +/- 1.8 percentage points and larger for subgroups (including those who have moved in with a partner at +/- 2.3 percentage points). The results reflect a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Results were weighted for age by gender, region, race/ethnicity, and income where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.