Unmarried millennials are twice as likely as boomers to buy homes solo—and 10 times as likely to buy with a friend

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Millennials may be known as a generation of renters, but they’ve made significant home-buying inroads over the past few years, with more than half becoming owners. They’re just doing it differently.

Generation Y is far more likely to buy a home on their own—or with a friend—than share one with a spouse compared with older generations, according to a new report from personal finance site Bankrate. In fact, in a new survey of over 1,200 homeowners, the company found more than 40% of millennials bought on their own—compared with 34% of Gen Xers and 22% of baby boomers—and 10% of millennials did so with a friend or non-romantic partner. Meanwhile, just 1% of baby boomers and 3% of Gen Xers reported buying with a friend.

Older generations were far more likely to buy with a spouse or domestic partner: 70% of boomers did so, as did 56% of Gen Xers. For millennials, that figure was just 47%.

The survey results line up with other data about millennials, who, broadly speaking, carry more non-housing debt than previous generations, are getting married later in life, and are becoming homeowners later as well. The new path they are carving is reshaping not only the housing market, but American life generally.

“Women, especially younger, college-educated women, have also made substantial gains in the job market and have increased their buying power over the last few decades,” says Bankrate analyst Alex Gailey.

While getting married later in life accounts for the increase in single millennials buying homes, affordability and lack of supply are responsible for the rise in co-buying with non-romantic partners—especially for first-time buyers. Housing costs have “forced many young buyers to…consider creative solutions” like buying with a friend or a family member, says Gailey. Millennials are the most likely generation to say they purchased a multi-generational home, according to the National Association of Realtors.

There’s also been a recent rise in the share of unmarried couples buying homes. They made up 18% of first-time homebuyers in 2022, compared with 4% in 1985, according to a different NAR report. Once again, affordability is one of the main drivers—two incomes are better than one, and buying before marriage can help millennials escape ever-spiraling rent prices and accomplish other financial goals (maybe even save up for the wedding).

“The primary drive of co-ownership is cost saving,” Jennifer Patchen, an Opendoor real estate broker, previously told Fortune. “Co-buying allows millennials to buy now, securing an affordable place to live in the present, while setting up a solid investment for the future.”

Assuming affordability and other factors don’t start to improve, Gen Z—which boasts members as old as 27—may extend millennials’ home-buying habits.

“If we continue to see a rising share of single Americans or Americans marrying later in life in the next few years,” says Gailey, “I suspect we’ll continue to see these trends with young future buyers.”

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