BAM Key Details:

  • According to a new Redfin report, over half (59%) of recent homebuyers say buying a home is more stressful than dating. The report is based on survey responses from roughly 1,000 people who purchased a home in the past year. 
  • Millennials and Gen X were more likely to say buying a home is more stressful than dating; Boomers and Gen Z were more likely to say the opposite. Older generations were most likely to see divorce as more stressful than the homebuying process.

According to the results of a recent Redfin-commissioned survey, nearly two-thirds (59%) of those who’ve purchased a home in the past 12 months say buying a home is more stressful than dating. 

Qualtrics fielded the survey in May and June of 2023 to more than 5,000 U.S. residents. Redfin’s report focuses on the roughly 1,000 respondents who were recent homebuyers. 

Understandably, given the abysmal state of U.S. housing affordability, a clear majority indicated buying a home was worse than putting themselves “on the market.”

Getting ghosted by your date is stressful, but purchasing a home in today’s market comes with its own unique set of anxieties. 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.

Daryl Fairweather

Redfin Chief Economist

Millennials and Gen X are most likely to see homebuying as more stressful than dating

Almost two-thirds of Millennials and Gen Xers think buying a home is more stressful than dating. Boomers and Gen Zers were most likely to say dating is more stressful. 

Baby Boomers recently reclaimed their status as the largest homebuying generation, overtaking millennials, largely due to the years they’ve spent building equity. That equity makes it much easier to buy another home even when mortgage rates are high. 

Older generations were also more likely to say divorce is more of a nightmare than buying a home: 

  • 67% of boomers
  • 66% of Gen X
  • 61% of millennials 
  • 48% of Gen Z

White homebuyers rank homebuying as more stressful than getting into college; Black buyers say the opposite

Among white respondents, roughly two-thirds (64%) say the home-buying process is more stressful than getting into college. Black buyers say the opposite; a majority (57%) ranked getting into college as more stressful. 

In general, Black Americans face higher financial barriers to both college admission and homeownership. About one-quarter of Black adults carry student loan debt, making it more difficult for them to qualify for a mortgage loan. Compare that to about 14% of white adults. 

The resumption this month of student loan payments will push homeownership further out for millions of Americans. It could also have a significant impact on consumer spending since fewer people will have disposable income for non-essential items. 

What’s more nerve-wracking—buying a home or [fill in the blank]?

Redfin’s survey asked the following question: “Below are several different events you may experience in your life. For each please select if that event, or buying a home, is more stressful. Please give your best guess even if you do not have experience with the specific life event.”

Redfin-Which-events-are-more-stressful-than-buying-a-home-table

Of the seven life events respondents had to consider, only two of them ranked as more stressful to respondents than buying a home: 

  • Divorce (indicated by 57% of respondents) 
  • Finding a new job (56%)

With mortgage rates at their highest level in over two decades, many buyers who are moving today are relocating because they have to—some because of death or divorce, others due to a job loss. About one in ten have had to relocate because their employers are demanding their return to the office

While unemployment in the U.S. remains low, thousands have had to find new jobs after being laid off in the past year, forcing them to navigate a housing market that’s reached a new record low in affordability. 

Takeaways for real estate agents

While buying a home is considered more stressful than dating (for some), many buyers are dealing with the compound stress of finding a new job plus relocating, often with a third stressor thrown in…just because. 

So, what can you do as a real estate professional to help your clients reduce the amount of stress they’re dealing with, at least when it comes to the home buying or selling process?