Apr 6, 2024 - Real Estate

More people in the DMV are buying homes together

Illustration of a best friend necklace with a charm in the shape of a house.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Co-buying is on the rise across the DMV, especially in Virginia — the state with the highest co-ownership growth year-over-year.

Why it matters: Splitting the mortgage is one way to become a homeowner in this pricey market.

What they're saying: Some DMV families are coming together to purchase multigenerational homes where the grandparents can pitch in for child care, Alexandria real estate agent Micki MacNaughton tells Axios.

  • "It's just so expensive to afford childcare that it's like paying a mortgage every month. So why wouldn't you just go ahead and buy a house and have mom take care of them?"

Yes, but: Exercise caution, says MacNaughton, who's helped locals co-buy before.

  • You're both financially bound to that mortgage. Uncoupling can be tricky.
  • McNaughton recommends studying your state's title and tenancy laws to understand the various ways property ownership could be transferred should one of the co-buyers die.
  • "If you're doing this, you'd want to make sure that you're protecting yourself and [everyone's] comfortable."

The big picture: Roughly half of Americans are willing to split the bill on buying a home in less traditional ways, Axios' Shauneen Miranda writes.

  • Some 15% of Americans already have bought a home with someone other than a romantic partner, and roughly half are willing to split the mortgage.
  • The majority of those interested in co-buying say they'd prefer to buy with a friend or sibling, and just under half say they'd buy with a parent.

Between the lines: The initial draws for co-owning are often financial, but the emotional bonds and support that come with co-living can keep people in these arrangements.

  • Living within a mile of a happy friend increases the likelihood that you'll be happy by 25%, according to a multigenerational study.
  • If you ask Phil Levin — founding team member of the car-free neighborhood Culdesac in Tempe, Arizona, and founder of co-living space Radish in Oakland, California — he'll tell you that living among close friends is "a cheat code for a happy life."
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