How Relationship Status Is Affecting First Time Buyers

By November 5, 2019Home Improvements
relationship status- first time buyers

Single men are 16% more likely to be actively saving for a mortgage

Our survey into the accessibility of the housing market has found that there isn’t just a gender divide in the way we save money- it’s a difference between the way men vs. women save when they are in a committed relationship. Women are more often putting aside large sums of money each month towards saving for a house, whereas men who are married or living with their partner are more likely to be saving low amounts, or not saving at all.

Being in a committed relationship seems to incentivises women to save for a house, but makes men less likely to be putting aside money for a house- and those that are putting aside money are often putting aside a couple of hundred pounds less than their female counterpart. Women are likely to be making some savings for a deposit regardless of their relationship status; only 0.22% more single women reported
currently saving for a house. Conversely, men become 14% less likely to be currently putting money towards a first home if they have a partner. Men are still earning more but contributing less to mortgage savings.

A Gendered Contribution Gap

The Office for National statistics reported that in 2018, men were still receiving 8.6% higher pay than women when in full time employment. However:

  • Women are 21% more likely than men contribute over £350 a month to saving for a house when in committed relationships. (16.58 vs. 13.73)
  • Women are 42% more likely than men contribute over £250 a month to saving for a house when in committed relationships. (17.11 vs. 12.02)
  •  Men are 15% more likely than women contribute under £50 per month toward the cost of buying a house when in a committed relationship. (26.2 vs. 30.04)

While the differences are small, they highlight a consistent gap between contributions towards a jointly owned property. This “contribution gap,” combined with the gender pay gap means that women who are in committed relationships with men are likely to be contributing a higher percentage of their wages each month to achieve a shared goal.

Increase for men in committed relationships

16% more single men are currently saving for a house than men in a serious relationship, whereas this difference is just 0.22% for women. Despite this, 39.91% of men who are married or live with their partner believe they are ‘very likely’ to become a homeowner in 3 years, compared to just 18% for single men. That’s a whopping 122% increase for men in committed relationships. Men in committed relationships are less driven to become a homeowner, but feel far more likely to achieve this goal.

Where Does this Leave Singles?

Single men are 15% more likely to receive money towards a deposit from family members than men in a committed relationship. Conversely, it is women in committed relationships who are 16% more likely to receive financial assistance than single women.

Despite being more likely to receive financial support from family members, across the board single men are most likely to report that they find the property ladder ‘not accessible’ (28% of single men) and least likely to report finding it ‘very accessible’ (just 6%.) Single men are also most likely to report the cost of buying a property as a barrier to purchasing, and are least likely to be concerned about the implications of
reselling a property. This difference is reflected by female respondents, highlighting the significance of a dual income.

how accessible is the property ladder

This research underpins just how tough it is to get on the property ladder. Women, especially single women, face the most difficulty buying their first home. However, even with keen dedication to saving for a first home, alongside family support- many single men find the prospect of becoming a homeowner incredibly remote. Even with the gender contribution gap, women and men in committed relationships are
both more prone to feel ‘very likely’ to become a homeowner in the next 3 years; highlighting the necessity of a dual income to property purchasing. It’s no wonder so many single respondents reported feeling that this goal was unattainable.


750 respondents from the UK were asked 17 multiple choice questions relating to lifestyle, saving habits and feelings towards buying a first home. Results were then cross filtered by gender and relationship status. We have defined ‘committed relationship’ as those who are living with a partner or married. Sexual orientation was not reported on our survey, so results include all relationship types.
View the data, sources and full methodology here

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