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When solo homeownership is not in the budget, some friends “double up”

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A man stands in an empty house with a real estate agent. The front door is open, and the room has a fireplace and window.

Co-habitation, or "doubling up," is a living solution for adults who can't afford homeownership on their own. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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While home prices are continuing to fall across the country, mortgage rates are still very much on the high side. The average 30-year rate is above 6%, more than double what it was a year ago.

For someone who is single and can’t reasonably afford a house on one salary, or for someone who is solely responsible for a mortgage, going it alone is challenging.

One solution? Move in with a friend.

A few years ago, Marika Pfefferkorn of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, had a friend going through a divorce. The friend had two kids, a house in her name, and she needed to reconsider her finances. Together, Pfefferkorn and her friend worked out a co-living arrangement.

“Making a decision at this age to move in with somebody was pretty simple,” Pfefferkorn, who is “on the cusp on 50,” said. “It was more about ‘How am I going to explain this to other people?’ “

There may still be stigma attached to having a roommate later in life, but living with people who aren’t romantic partners, known as “doubling up,” has been on the rise since the Great Recession. As of 2018, nearly a third of American adults were living in shared households, according to the Pew Research Center.

Ultimately, Pfefferkorn said the benefits have been enormous, and that moving in together meant more than just paying less in rent.

“To remain financially stable in these times, it’s really important to find a support network,” she said. “And that support network for me starts in my home.”

Click the audio player above to hear Pfefferkorn’s apartment-hunting story. Tell us your housing story using the form below, and you may be featured on a future edition of “Adventures in Housing.”

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