Looking for the perfect wedding gift? How about contributing to help the happy couple buy a house?
More couples than ever who are planning to marry are including “home funds” as part of their wedding registry, according to a new report from Zillow. The share of couples doing so has jumped 55% since 2018, reaching nearly 20% of all couples registered on The Knot, an online wedding marketplace.
“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,” said Esther Lee, deputy editor of The Knot. “It’s wonderful that couples feel empowered to make their registries ultra-personal to their goals, especially as they enter marriage together. While guests prefer to give cash gifts for celebratory treats, like a sunset honeymoon dinner, milestone gifting is a profoundly thoughtful and significant trend we’re seeing among couples planning on The Knot.
“Amid rising interest rates and historic highs for downpayments, this particular wedding contribution helps newlyweds reach another meaningful life milestone: homeownership.”
Affordability is currently the largest barrier blocking potential first-time buyers from achieving homeownership, and it’s currently exacerbated by the double whammy of high interest rates and low supply. An August report from Zillow revealed that it now takes 12 years for a typical first-time buyer to save for a downpayment, up from nine years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the same time frame, the typical monthly mortgage payment has ballooned. Assuming 20% down on a $350,000 home, a couple would require $70,000 as a downpayment with a $2,334 monthly payment.
Many are increasingly turning to help from loved ones to help pay for the added expense. Zillow’s most recent Consumer Housing Trends Report, compiled annually, found that 43% of first-time buyers used gift funds from friends and family to cover at least part of their downpayment.
Amanda Pendleton, a personal finance expert at Zillow Home Loans, suggested reaching out to a mortgage originator for helping understanding the whole financial picture and quashing misconceptions when setting up a home fund. According to Zillow’s data, for example, most first-time homebuyers still put down between 10% and 19%.
“Young couples may be eschewing convention when it comes to their weddings, but they still aspire to achieve the age-old American dream of homeownership,” Pendleton said. “That dream, however, can feel out of reach without the right support.
“For couples who choose to add downpayment funds to their registry, it’s important that they also work with a qualified loan officer to understand what they can afford and what loan options fit their situation. First-time buyers often think a 20% downpayment is required, but that’s not always the case. Some may qualify for a downpayment as low as 3%, which will change their savings timeline and monthly payment dramatically.”