Don’t get hitched just to buy a house

Singletons are being priced out of the housing market, but this doesn't mean you need to rush down the aisle

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Singles get a rough deal. They’re excluded from the vom-fest that is Valentine’s Day, forced to holiday with their parents while their loved up friends venture off to remote islands with their beaus, and receive daily emails from websites like MySingleFriend.com telling them that someone viewed their profile.

If all this wasn’t bad enough though, they’re now being priced out of the property market.

It won’t come as a surprise to many that, according to statistics released by charity Shelter last week, single first time buyers on an average salary will struggle to find a home within their one-income budget.

Less than 10 per cent of homes in every local authority area in London, the south-east and the south-west, and in more than 95 per cent of local authority areas in the West Midlands and the east, are affordable to a singleton on an average salary. And that’s assuming they have a deposit already secured, which is unlikely if they are renting, have no inheritance or family support, and live the hand-to-mouth existence of a twenty-something.

By comparison, twosomes will find there are only two areas their price range won’t stretch to: Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea, and to be honest, there are very few wallets that will stretch that far.

With rents rising every day, getting on the property ladder makes financial sense. Will desperate singles be forced to settle for the latest suitor that Tinder throws up in order to pool resources and stump up enough cash for a deposit?

Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases a person will make in their lifetime. It takes careful consideration; years of scrimping; hours spent pouring over estate agents’ websites; and numerous phone calls to brokers who try again and again to explain what a fixed rate is. Add to that the stress of buying with a partner you’ve known less than a year and you have a real (estate) recipe for disaster.

It would be foolish to rush a relationship for the sake of buying a house, but if the market continues to price out singles, I fear many will. Just has having a baby is wrongly considered a “sticking plaster” for doomed marriages, buying a home together too soon could send even the sturdiest of partnerships spiralling into negative equity.

The solution? Team up with friends or family instead. Unlike buying a house with a boyfriend or girlfriend, which brings with it the obvious connotations of impending marriage, parenthood, and general “grown-up-ness”, buying with a relative or mate means first time buyers can keep looking for Mr Right, while at the same time clambering onto the bottom rungs of the property ladder.

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