(The Hill) — Nearly 1 in 5 couples are turning to their wedding registries for help with funds to buy their first home, a new survey found.
An analysis from Zillow Home Loans found nearly 20 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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 home buyer tax credit,” Zillow wrote in a statement, adding that this number is up from 45 percent last year and 37 percent 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, Zillow said.
For instance, a $350,000 home with an assumed 20 percent 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 home buyers 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 percent.
“First-time buyers often think a 20 [percent] down payment is required, but that’s not always the case. Some may qualify for a down payment as low as 3 [percent], 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 home buyers also reported receiving a grant toward their down payment, often from a bank or credit union.
Buyers of color were also found to be more likely to benefit from these grants, with 47 percent reporting receiving one, according to the research.