LONDON, February 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Almost three-quarters of couples living in the UK are choosing to postpone their wedding in order to get on the housing ladder first, according to a new survey by a leading London estate agent.
A survey carried out for lettings and estate agency Chestertons found 71% of couples said they would buy a home before getting married. With average house prices reaching almost £200,000 in England and Wales and well over £500,000 in London, saving for a deposit and repaying a mortgage mean most couples have little or no spare income to save for a wedding.
Instead, couples are choosing to buy a home together and forgoing the romance of tying the knot. The average age to marry in the UK has risen to 32 for men and 30 for women, compared to 28 and 26 in 2001, and there are almost 10 million more people living at home with parents than there were 20 years ago, according to Office for National Statistics data.
The survey also indicates just half of those who bought a home together felt they could EVER afford to get married. Having saved for a deposit and with the burden of mortgage payments, only 50% of those surveyed said they thought they would be able to afford a wedding.
Jess Davies, 29, from Norbiton, London, chose to buy a house with her boyfriend Mike before getting married: "We bought a home together in 2014, got engaged in 2015 and we get married in August. When we bought our house we'd been together eight years, we wanted to buy somewhere and get married, but we couldn't afford both. While we always knew we'd get married, we felt we were wasting money renting and wanted a place of our own. Our attitude was, 'we've been together so long, what's another couple of years to wait to get married?'"
Nimish Patel, Sales Manager of the Chestertons Greenwich branch, says: "Many couples would rather invest in property than pay for a wedding. The Help to Buy scheme offers some assistance to hard-pressed purchasers; the Government has increased the limit for the interest-free equity loan it offers buyers in London from 20% to 40%, but the scheme only applies to new-build homes up to £600,000, so buyers still need to work quite hard to find a place at the right price."