Friends with financial benefits

Just like the sitcom Friends, the continuing property crisis is leading young people to “mate for life” with their pals, according to new research.

While the term usually means head banging to heavy-metal music, insurance website Confused.com has called the new trend MOSHing.

Working with futurologists at Future Poll, the new study into the friendship and finances of single people found a growing trend for best mates to create “family” units in Multiple Occupant Shared Homes.

So just like Monica, Rachel and the gang in the popular sitcom, friends are becoming increasingly likely to move in together for long periods of time., even choosing to buy their home together.

More than half of singles said they had a friend they would trust enough to buy a house with and singleton households are expected to outnumber any other kind of household by 2031.

It means MOSHing could become mainstream over the next decade with single people, struggling to afford to get onto the property ladder by themselves, teaming up with friends to increase their borrowing potential.

Men are already moshing more than women with twice as many single men, 10%, having bought a house with a friend compared to 5% of single women surveyed. Some 44% of men said they would be comfortable owning a property with a friend compared with 38% of women.

The move comes as single people find they can’t afford bills by themselves and have enough disposable income to enjoy a good lifestyle.

Jody Day, of Gateway Women, which “supports and empowers” childless women, was one of the report authors. “The cost of living for a single person is really tough,” she said. “Trying to live on your own and pay utilities and rent means often the single, glamorous lifestyle is not possible as you don’t have a bean left over.”

Mike Hoban, chief marketing officer at Confused.com said the move could change future financial services. “Friendships are increasingly important to independent single people in the UK and a financial industry that caters for single people and couples alike is one that is prepared for the future of personal finance,” he said.

The report found that living in shared-occupancy households is not just about saving money, it’s about friendship and turning social networks into bricks and mortar.

It concludes that “single people in the UK are not ‘waiting’ for marriage – they are enjoying longlasting friendships and independence and this will inevitably impact on housing and living arrangements too.”

The report adds: “We are already seeing a rise in the number of ‘mates mortgages’ and young people who are single are increasingly open to the idea of buying property with a trusted friend. “

But young people who do enter into mortgage arrangements with their friends are being warned to make sure they take proper financial measures before doing so.

Matt Lloyd, head of life insurance at Confused.com said: “But not putting in place life and critical illness insurances, financially dependent friends run the risk of losing jointly-owned homes or even rented accommodation, which as well as potentially ruining a jointly-enjoyed lifestyle, could also ruin a beautiful friendship.”