1 in 5 Couples Include ‘Home Fund’ in Wedding Registry


On wedding website The Knot, 20% of couples ask for home down payment money – an amount that has risen 55% over the past five years.

WASHINGTON – Nearly 1 in 5 couples are turning to their wedding registries for help with funds to buy their first home, according to a new survey.

An analysis from Zillow Home Loans found nearly 20% of all couples using the registry website The Knot are including a “home fund” – or funds to be used toward a down payment on their first home. Zillow said that number is up 55% since 2018.

“Home funds were one of the most popular wedding registry cash funds on The Knot in 2022 – the second, in fact, right behind the honeymoon fund,” Esther Lee, deputy editor of The Knot, wrote in a statement. Pointing to rising interest rates and historic highs for down payments, Lee said these sorts of funds are a significant trend among homeowners.

Zillow’s research also found that 43% of first-time buyers in 2023 reported gift funds from friends and family as a source of “at least part of their down payment funds.”

Rising costs continue to make it more challenging for first-time buyers, who make up nearly half of all home buyers, according to Zillow’s 2023 Consumer Housing Trends report.

“The share of first-time buyers likely hasn’t been this high since around 2010, when there was a first-time homebuyer tax credit,” Zillow wrote in a statement, adding that this number is up from 45% last year and 37% in 2021.

It now takes nearly 12 years for a typical first-time buyer to save up for a down payment, compared to nine years prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zillow reported. The typical monthly mortgage payment has more than doubled in that time.

For instance, a $350,000 home with an assumed 20% down payment would require a couple to come up with $70,000 for a down payment and expect to spend $2,334 a month on a mortgage payment.

Zillow recommended that homebuyers looking to purchase in the next year take steps to improve their credit score and speak with qualified loan officers to see what fits their financial situation. Their data noted that most first-time buyers put down between 10% and 19%.

“First-time buyers often think a 20% down payment is required, but that’s not always the case. Some may qualify for a down payment as low as 3%, which will change their savings timeline and monthly payment dramatically,” said Amanda Pendleton, a personal finance expert at Zillow Home Loans.

Another study from Zillow found around 1 in 3 homebuyers also reported receiving a grant toward their down payment, often from a bank or credit union.

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