Home Funds Make Great Wedding Gifts, Especially for First-Time Buyers

By Hope Walborn | Jan. 23, 2024 | 2 min. read

Last year, 80% of newlyweds surveyed by Realtor.com said if they could redo their wedding registry, they would include an option to contribute to housing costs such as a down payment, mortgage payments or closing costs.

While money toward the cost of a home is not a traditional wedding gift, it can be a very practical one for newlyweds looking to buy their first home together. With home prices and mortgage rates high, help with home costs can be especially helpful to first-time homebuyers – a category that many newlyweds fall into.

Of those surveyed, 85% said they would have preferred to receive money toward a down payment or other housing-related expenses. However, despite the need for home funds, 82% said they felt obligated to register for more traditional wedding gifts, such as home furnishings and dishware, and 53% said they felt very obligated to do so.

As a result, 88% of those surveyed reported that they felt pressured to create a registry of gifts they didn’t really want. Forty-six percent registered for unwanted gifts because of pressure to ask for traditional gifts, 40% because their partner wanted traditional gifts and 35% because they planned to return them and use the money for things they really wanted.

On the other hand, traditional gifts often have a more personal feel. Eighty percent said they’ve felt obligated to buy a traditional gift for a wedding they attended, and 70% said they would prefer to do so.

Still, the practicality of receiving home funds as a wedding gift is high, especially for first-time buyers who don’t yet have equity. Thirty percent of people surveyed reported that they would be open to giving monetary gifts toward a down payment and other homebuying expenses.

Down payments for first-time homebuyers vary greatly, but according to an analysis of the U.S. Census American Housing Survey completed by Rocket Mortgage, 73% of first-time buyers put 15% or less down to purchase their home in 2021. From 2010-2021, the most common down payment amount for first-time buyers was 3% to 5% down. Newlyweds may decide to put more or less down on a new home together, but every little bit can help.

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