RealtyTrac report: More people buying homes with boyfriends, parents and buddies

House owner/real estate agent giving away the keysby Dan Rafter

The way consumers buy homes continues to evolve, as a new report found that more buyers who are not married are pooling their dollars together to share in the costs of owning a new home.

RealtyTrac reported that in November, 14.4 percent of all residential property sales across the nation involved multiple buyers with different last names. That marked the fourt straight month in which the percentage of shared home purchases was above 14 percent. This percentage hit its peak in August of last year, when 14.8 percent of all home buys were shared purchases.

Shared purchases come in a wide variety. It might be a couple who are dating who decide to buy a home instead of renting. It might be two friends or it might be a father and a daughter who pool their money together to buy a home.

Of course, the majority of home buys are still made either by single buyers or by buyers who are married. But the rise in shared home purchases doesn’t appear to be a fluke. Instead, it looks like a growing trend.

What’s behind it? RealtyTrac points to rising home prices. The median sales price of an existing home rose to $220,300 in November of last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s 6.3 percent higher than where that figure stood in November one year earlier.

As homes get more expensive, single buyers often can’t afford the down payments and monthly mortgage payments that come with owning. So they find someone else who’d like to buy — a friend, family member, boyfriend or girlfriend — and apply for a mortgage loan jointly.

This trend isn’t a bad one for commercial real estate pros. After all, when people buy homes, they spend a lot of money on everything from furniture and appliances to lumber for decks and grass seed for bare backyards. If more people can because of shared purchases buy their own homes, this could result in more dollars flowing into the national economy.

And when consumers are spending more, it provides a big boost to the retail, office and industrial sectors.

So let’s hope that more people decide to share in the costs of buying a home. Anything that gives even a small boost to the economy is good news.

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