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Potential Homebuyers Enlist Family to Help Curb Housing Affordability Costs

As the Fall homebuying season makes its debut, many potential homebuyers facing affordability challenges are turning their parents and extended family into co-buyers or roommates in order to find a place they can all call home, according to a recent survey from Realtor.com and Censuswide. In addition, the report showed that recent return-to-office requirements and elevated childcare costs may also be driving home shoppers to factor family proximity and support into their purchasing plans.

Of those surveyed who are planning to buy a home within the next 12 months, roughly 51% of respondents are potentially looking to their parents to help them prepare for buying a home, with nearly one third (29%) saying they've already moved in with their parents to help save money in preparation for buying a home and another quarter (22%) saying they would consider doing so.

Similarly, one third (32%) of respondents are even cohabitating with other family members to help save enough money to buy a home, including siblings, aunts and uncles, and cousins, and another 24% would consider doing so.

"The challenging market conditions this year are changing buyer behavior in significant ways, driving many more people to explore alternative living situations they may not have considered in the past," said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com. "Mortgage rates hovering at or near 7% have eroded buyers' purchasing power at a time when the consistently low number of homes for sale has kept housing markets surprisingly competitive."

Hoping to be close to family to share childcare and reduce expenses

In addition to the short-term savings that living with family provides, many are planning to stay close to family even after they've saved up by purchasing a home near their relatives. Some 28% of respondents who are planning to buy a home in the next year are doing so in part to be closer to their family.

Of those who are planning to buy a home to be close to family, many are motivated by financial reasons and sharing the cost and responsibilities of childcare. Helping care for other children in the family was cited as a top reason by that group (50%), followed by needing affordable help caring for their own children (44%). Other top-cited reasons for buying near family were because they liked the area, because prices and costs of living have become too high where they currently live, or because of health issues.

While many would-be homebuyers are looking to buy a home near their family, many respondents already call their family neighbors, with about 4 in 10 surveyed consumers saying their parents, siblings, extended family, or grandparents have purchased a home near them.

Co-buying and living with family longer-term

As housing affordability continues to be a barrier for many would-be buyers, co-living or co-buying with family has gained significant popularity in recent years. Some 83% of those surveyed would consider buying a home to live in together, as a primary residence, with someone other than their spouse/partner, including an extended family member or friend. Respondents were most open to buying a home with their child (37%), a romantic partner they're not married or engaged to (31%); a sibling, cousin or other family member from the same generation (27%), and their parents or in-laws (23%).

Realtor.com's collaboration tools make it easy for shoppers buying a home together and let you invite your home search partner to link Realtor.com accounts and begin sharing your home search in one easy place across all devices, including comments back and forth that only the two of you can see.

For those who would consider buying a home with someone other than their spouse, the top reasons cited included that pooled resources would afford them a better location (43%), a more updated home (41%), and/or a bigger home (38%). One-third (36%) of those who said that they would buy a home with someone other than their spouse said it was because they're already living together and would prefer to buy and start building equity sooner, and 29% said it's because they can't afford to buy a home on their own.

"While home buyers have long received financial assistance from family members to help them afford a home purchase—especially first-time home buyers who may not have already built up equity—we're seeing more and more prospective buyers take this a step further," said Clare Trapasso, Executive News Editor at Realtor.com. "Faced with ongoing housing affordability issues and rising childcare costs, we're seeing parents and children becoming roommates again in later years as the 'kids' save up to purchase their own place, siblings moving near each other to pool childcare resources, and some even buying homes with family to split the financial burden and make homeownership a reality."

To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years of writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is an avid jazz lover and likes to read. She can be reached at [email protected].

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