Most U.S. Homebuyers Say Buying a Home is More Stressful Than Dating in 2023

Most U.S. Homebuyers Say Buying a Home is More Stressful Than Dating in 2023

Residential News » Seattle Edition | By Michael Gerrity | October 5, 2023 9:27 AM ET

According to a new Redfin-commissioned survey, nearly two-thirds of recent U.S. homebuyers (59%) think purchasing a house is more stressful than dating.

Daryl Fairweather

"Getting ghosted by your date is stressful, but purchasing a home in today's market comes with its own unique set of anxieties," said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. "Buyers are increasingly ghosting sellers as housing costs climb, and high mortgage rates are prompting many homeowners to stay put instead of selling--meaning house hunters have a record low number of homes to swipe right on."

Of the life events respondents had to choose from, there were just two that respondents found more nerve wracking than buying a home: 57% said divorce is more stressful and 56% said finding a new job is more stressful.

With mortgage rates at the highest level in more than two decades, many of the people moving today are relocating not because they want to, but because they have to--often due to a major life event like a divorce or a new job.

While the U.S. unemployment rate remains low, thousands of workers have been laid off and forced to find new jobs in the past year. Others have had to move because their employer asked them to go back to the office. One in 10 U.S. home sellers cited a return-to-office policy as a reason for their upcoming relocation.

Millennials, Gen X Are Most Likely to Think Homebuying Is More Stressful Than Dating. Baby Boomers Are Most Likely to Think the Opposite.

Millennials and Gen Xers were most likely to emphasize the anxieties of homebuying, with nearly two-thirds saying it's more stressful than dating. Baby Boomers and Gen Zers were most likely to say dating is more stressful. Baby Boomers recently overtook millennials as the largest homebuying generation, in large part because they've spent years building home equity, making it easier to buy another home even when mortgage rates are high.

Older generations were most likely to emphasize the stress of divorce; 67% of Baby Boomers said divorce is more stressful than homebuying, compared with 61% of millennials and 48% of Gen Z respondents. Baby Boomers are more likely to have experienced divorce than, say, Gen Z, simply because they're older. Research also shows that the divorce rate for people over 50 has been on the rise, fueling an uptick in the number of Boomers living alone.

White Homebuyers Say Buying a Home Is More Stressful Than Getting Into College. Black Buyers Say the Opposite.

More than two-thirds of white respondents (64%) said buying a home is more stressful than getting into college, but the results were flipped for Black respondents, a majority of whom (57%) said getting into college is more stressful.

Black Americans face much higher financial barriers to both homeownership and college admission than white Americans on average, and frequently face discrimination during both processes. Roughly one-quarter of Black adults say they carry student loan debt, compared with 14% of white adults. Student loan payments are resuming for millions of Americans this month as the pandemic-era pause comes to an end, which will push homeownership further out of reach for some borrowers as their monthly costs climb.

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