Couples moving in together sooner to save on rising housing costs

New couples are moving in together faster and leaving romance at the door, in a bid to save on the escalating cost of housing.

A new survey from Finder has found that 10 per cent of couples have moved in together earlier than expected, which equates to about 290,000 households across the country.

The data shows 3 per cent of couples moved in to improve their chances of rental or home loan approval, while 2 per cent decided to share bed and board for other reasons.

Money expert at Finder, Sarah Megginson said the escalating cost of living has forced many Australians – particularly young people – to make some tough decisions.

“Rising costs are becoming a big concern for Australians, with many struggling to find affordable housing,” Ms Megginson said.

“It’s not surprising to see this rental crunch is prompting some people to turn to alternative living situations to cut down on expenses.”

Rising costs are having the biggest impact on younger people, with 29 per cent of Gen Z having rushed to move in together compared to 17 per cent of Millennials.

Ms Megginson said it’s a marriage of convenience that could turn sour very quickly.

“Lenders are really strict on lending money to borrowers if they don’t think you’ll be able to manage repayments – it’s baked into the responsible lending act, so they have a lot of guidelines to follow around how much they can responsibly lend to you,” she said.

“Couples are more frequently pairing up to increase their chances of approval, but if the relationship goes south, it could be extremely complicated for individuals to part ways.”

Women (19 per cent) were more likely than men (11 per cent) to move in with their partner ahead of schedule, according to the research.

Ms Megginson said it’s important for couples to understand their partner’s spending and saving behaviours prior to applying for a loan together.

“You probably won’t discuss debt on the first date, but there needs to be an open discussion before things get serious,” she said.

“Learn about how the person you’re dating manages debt and their money habits in general before you move in together.”

Ms Megginson said if someone in a relationship has large personal debts it can also make it difficult to manage shared finances.

“It can be hard to reach financial goals as a couple if you have very different approaches to money management, which is why these conversations are so important,” she said.

“Signing a lease or a mortgage is a huge step to take with a significant other, so don’t rush the arrangement just to reduce hip pocket pain.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.