PhotoFirst comes love, then comes homeownership? A new analysis by Zillow has found that more unmarried couples are buying homes together, often in an effort to make home-buying more affordable in the face of rising home values.

In its 2016 Consumer Housing Trends report, Zillow noted that the share of young unmarried couples buying homes together has risen over the past decade. Today, almost 15% of all young homebuyers in the U.S. are unmarried couples -- an increase of 11% since 2005.

Washington, D.C. has seen the biggest increase in unmarried homebuyers, from 7.5% in 2005 to its current share of 16%. Philadelphia and Miami have also seen a rise in the number of young unmarried homeowners.  

Home values on the rise

As homes become more expensive, more unmarried couples are choosing to combine their incomes to make homeownership more affordable. 

The median home value in the U.S. has risen 7% over the past year to $193,800, according to the experts at Zillow. To be able to afford a home with that pricetag, two incomes are often necessary.

"Buying a home is a big part of The American Dream -- equally shared by millennials and Baby Boomers alike -- but it's becoming extremely difficult to make it work on a single income," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell.

“Many singles looking to purchase a home on their own may not make enough money to afford or qualify for a mortgage on their dream home,” he said in a statement. “That makes buying a home with a significant other even more appealing, even if marriage isn't quite part of the picture.”

Fewer single homebuyers

If home value growth continues to outpace income growth, Gudell says this trend is likely to continue. We may also continue to see a decline in the number of single homebuyers.

The report notes that there has been a decrease in the number of single homebuyers since 2005. Today, single homebuyers account for about 25% of all homebuyers -- down from 28% in 2005.

The greatest drop in the share of single homebuyers occurred in Columbus, Ohio, falling from 40% in 2005 to less than 20% now. Portland also saw a drop of 10% in its number of single homeowners, likely as a result of the city's rapid home value growth.

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