Half of single people would consider purchasing a property with friends to get on the ladder

25 Oct, 2023

Non-homeowners with a ‘single’ relationship status are looking at innovative ways to get on the property ladder, with 49% considering buying a property with family or friends to offset costs.

People who are not in a relationship are looking at viable alternatives to get on the ladder, as nearly two thirds (64%) agreed that purchasing a property by themselves did not feel like a realistic aspiration at the moment.

A survey commissioned by first direct explored how people’s relationship status is impacting their property ownership goals. The study focused on 1,500 non-homeowners across the UK who either live at home or rent, taking into account a 50/50 split of individuals and people in relationships.

Single people delaying plans to get on the ladder

Half of non-homeowners surveyed (50%) who aren’t in a relationship said that they were delaying or adjusting plans to get on the property ladder.

This was partially due to challenges raising a deposit, with more than four in ten (41%) of single non-homeowners saying that they cannot currently afford to save towards one. This is in comparison to one in three (33%) aspiring homeowners in relationships who made the same claim.

One of the biggest drivers of this trend is the cost of renting – and nearly half (46%) of single people confirmed they’d made changes to their living situation in order to reduce this cost. Some of the most common changes involved moving back in with parents (23%) or moving in with friends (13%). A smaller portion went as far as accepting a job working away where accommodation is provided (6%) or subletting a room in their rental property (5%).

This trend was exacerbated by the rising costs in the rental market, with 57% of single people surveyed agreeing that renting individually isn’t affordable for them.


Chris Pitt, CEO of first direct, commented on the findings:

“We know that there is still a big appetite amongst aspiring homeowners to get on the property ladder – but people trying to do so on a single income face more challenges than most. On top of raising a deposit and managing mortgage payments without the support of a partner, many will also be facing the added pressure of trying to get into a position to buy while also paying rent.

“Whether you’re a renter in a tough spot, or a single person looking to get on the ladder but unsure where to start, there is help available. At first direct, we can provide support with getting on the property ladder, or if you are struggling with rent we also have a range of measures that are designed to help renters, from budgeting support to free legal guidance.”

Couples have more optimistic outlook on home ownership

The picture was more optimistic for couples. A quarter (24%) of couples said that they can realistically aim to be on the property ladder in one to two years. This was narrowly ahead of the 23% who stated that three to five years was a more realistic timeline.

Interestingly, six in ten (60%) of couples surveyed who had moved in together in the last two years, or planned to move in together imminently, said that the rising cost of living had impacted their decision to do so.

A massive 71% said that they wouldn’t be in a position to buy a property alone without their partner – whilst only 10% of people in relationships said they would be able to buy a property alone.

Top tips from first direct for aspiring home owners:

  1. If you don’t know where to start, speak to your bank: If you’re unsure where to start with getting a mortgage, there might be help available from your bank. First direct can provide objective support, practical guidance and tips on a range of topics relate to getting a mortgage, from improving your credit score to budgeting to save a deposit, as well as giving you all the info you need around borrowing thresholds, affordability, and expected costs.
  2. If you’re a renter in a tough spot, speak up: We know that renters are particularly impacted by rising costs, and if you’re in a difficult position there is again help available. As well as being able to provide support with getting some breathing space if you’re struggling to make ends meet, your bank may also work with a network of partners they can refer you to for additional help. For example, first direct has a charity partnership with Shelter through which it funds free legal advice and support for customers who are renting.
  3. Get a strong return on any savings you do have: With higher interest rates, it’s important to ensure you’re getting a competitive return on the savings you do have. Shop around for the best deal – and if you have a lump sum, consider a fixed rate account for higher returns.
  4. Save little and often if you can: For those making their first steps into saving a deposit, saving little and often is a good starting point. Many banks will offer base rate exceeding rates on regular saver accounts, to reward customers for getting into a monthly saving habit. first direct’s Regular Saver offers a 7% return, for example.
  5. Look at flexible mortgage options and schemes: If you have an active plan in place to get on the ladder, it’s worth researching if there are any flexible mortgage features or schemes that can help you – from high LTV mortgages to 40-year terms or Government support schemes – you might find there is extra help available to reduce the cost of the deposit needed or make your monthly payments more affordable.