10 min read

Nearly four million regret their property partner

Posted in: Research

  • Rising house prices have seen many homeowners driven to buy property with friends, family members or prematurely with partners
  • Nearly four million current co-owners say they aren’t happy with their living situation1
  • Friends buying property together has doubled over last five years as property prices and large deposits mean they can’t afford to buy alone
  • New compatibility test allows would-be sharers to screen out unsuitable property partners

In the past five years, nearly 145,000 properties were bought with friends, siblings, or family members, over twice as many as the five years before2. And this is set to double again in the next three years with more people planning to join forces with others to get on the property ladder3.

One in five (20%) people who bought with friends and family say they are forced to keep living with their co-owners because they don’t have another option and cannot afford to move on, sell up or buy out their co-owners. As a result, more than one in 10 (13%) now regret buying a property with someone else.

For those buying with friends, the average length of a happy house-share is just over five years before lives change and people want to move on, however it’s not easy to extricate from a jointly purchased property meaning half of all co-owners (52%) of those who bought with friends or family want to move on but can’t4.

High property prices and low interest rates on savings have pushed more people to join up with friends or family, with half (52%) saying they could not have afforded their home otherwise5.

However, it seems many of these partnerships are not thought through, with two in five (42%) ending up in rows. Most household spats are down to money, but cleaning, and upkeep and maintenance have also caused friction between co-owners.

Differences in expectations and personalities are a key factor in these disputes, and OneFamily has created a compatibility test for would be joint buyers to check they have likeminded views on household matters.

The test, which has been developed in partnership with leading psychologist Dr Glenn Wilson, splits potential co-owners into four categories and helps would be joint owners check they are compatible with who they are buying with.

Dr Glenn Wilson, a leading psychologist, said: “How compatible people are has a strong correlation with overall happiness in a property-share. For example, two people might be compatible if they are both very open about their finances or both prefer to more private about them. They’d be less compatible though if one were open and one were closed.”

Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Managing Director of Lifetime ISAs at OneFamily, said:

“Buying a home with friends and family members can be an attractive option for those wanting to get on the ladder – and the Lifetime ISA, which gives first-time buyers a savings boost of up to £1,000 a year, on savings of up to £4,000, can be used by multiple people, however buying with other people requires careful consideration.

“If you own a home with someone but then, for example, you want to move in with a new partner, or your job is relocated to the other side of the country, you would probably consider renting out your property, but many mortgages don’t allow sub-letting. Often there are two options: selling your share, or buying the portion you don’t own – and for many people this is impossible.

“We’d urge buyers to have an open, honest conversation to agree the terms in advance, should circumstances change and one of you wants to sell and move out.”