Mortgage before marriage for many young buyers

Nearly 25% of millennial homebuyers want to buy a home before they get married.

LendingTree, which conducted the survey, says times have changed.

“Many people used to get married, and then buy a home or have a baby, and then buy a home. Often times buying a home was triggered by these life events, but now people are getting married much later and having children much later,” LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze told WTOP.

In 1980, the average age for first marriage for men was 24.7 years and for women it was 22. Those numbers are now 29.8 for men and 27.8 for women.

Marriage isn’t the only thing first-time buyers say they’re delaying until after they buy a home. Twenty-seven percent of millennials say they are putting off having a baby, 22% say getting a pet and 17% say changing jobs.

Millennial buyers, those who are between 22 and 37, often have misconceptions about the homebuying process as well, such as how long it takes to actually get the keys.

“First-time buyers tend to think it takes 15 to 30 days to close on a loan. The average closing time is actually around 43 days,” Kapfidze said.

In its survey, 14% of first-time buyers said they expected the closing process to take less than two weeks, and only 26% had gathered all the required documents necessary to complete a mortgage application.

First-time buyers don’t always get the best loan terms either.

LendingTree says 26% of first-time buyers have poor credit, and only 15% have a credit score of 740 or higher.

Other takeaways from the survey: 43% of first-time buyers are single and 70% are in debt.

Qualtrics conducted the survey of 2,095 Americans who are considering purchasing a home in the next two years for LendingTree. The online survey was conducted between March 11 and March 15. It has a margin of error of 2.4%.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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