Nearly a third of couples are choosing to buy a home together as a sign of their commitment, rather than get married, a survey has suggested.
Three out of 10 people said buying a property with their partner would remove the pressure on them to get married, or at least enable them to delay tying the knot, according to the Post Office.
More than half of people also said they would consider buying a property with their other half before they got married, rising to 67% among couples who were currently renting together.
With the average mortgage currently standing at around £150,000 and repaid over a 25-year period, it is unsurprising that many couples consider buying a home together to be a significant sign of commitment.
But the research found there had been a generational shift in attitudes, with 66% of people aged over 55 saying they thought marriage was a greater commitment than buying a home, compared with just 50% of people aged under 34.
Only one in five people said they would follow the traditional approach and delay buying a home together until after they were married. Around 5% of people who were in a relationship said they would never consider getting married or having a civil partnership, rising to 10% among single people.
The study also suggested that couples may be bringing forward decisions to buy a home with a partner because it is the only way they can get on to the property ladder.
It found that 42% of people aged between 18 and 34 said affordability was the main reason they would consider buying a home with a partner, while around 44% of single people also said they would consider joining forces with friends or family in order to purchase a property.
Mike Cook, head of mortgages at the Post Office, said: "Purchasing a property, whether it's with a partner or a friend, is of course a big commitment. "With many first-time buyers finding it hard to get on the property ladder, for some couples buying a house together before marriage is out of financial necessity, rather than just 'playing house'.
"We are also seeing an increasing number of applications from friends or family members buying together as people seek other ways to get themselves on the housing ladder."