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Newlyweds Prefer Cash Over Traditional Gifts As Homeownership Gets Priority

Skyrocketing home prices and increasing mortgage rates make it very difficult for first-time buyers to enter the market.
UPDATED JAN 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: Getty Images
Cover Image Source: Getty Images

Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 6, 2023.

In today's challenging housing market, first-time homebuyers face numerous financial struggles, including high home prices, soaring mortgage rates, and difficulties saving for a down payment. These conditions have prompted couples getting married to seek alternative solutions for homeownership.

Let us explore the changing preferences of newlyweds, who now favor cash gifts over traditional presents, and delve into the desire for financial assistance among first-time buyers. 

Source: GettyImages | Johannes Simon  Staff
Source: GettyImages | Johannes Simon Staff



For first-time homebuyers, the current housing market poses significant financial challenges. Skyrocketing home prices and increasing mortgage rates make it increasingly difficult for these buyers to enter the market. Limited inventory and fierce bidding wars for desirable properties further exacerbate the situation. In addition, factors such as high inflation, rising rents, and resuming student loan payments make saving for a down payment and covering closing costs a daunting task. Without the advantage of home equity from a previous sale, first-time buyers find themselves at a disadvantage compared to repeat buyers.


Source: GettyImages | WPA Pool  Pool
Source: GettyImages | WPA Pool Pool



Repeat buyers enjoy a significant advantage over first-time buyers in the housing market. With accumulated home equity, they can make larger down payments on their next homes, increasing their purchasing power and potentially qualifying for more favorable mortgage terms. This advantage allows repeat buyers to compete effectively in the market and secure the most desirable properties. In contrast, first-time buyers often struggle to accumulate the necessary funds for a down payment, typically putting down 6% of the purchase price compared to 17% for repeat buyers, as reported by the National Association of Realtors.

In response to the financial challenges faced by first-time homebuyers, newlyweds are shifting their focus from traditional wedding gifts to cash gifts that contribute to homeownership. The survey conducted by and Censuswide revealed that 85% of newlyweds who created a wedding registry in the last 24 months would have preferred money toward a down payment rather than physical gifts. If given the option, 80% of them would include an opportunity for guests to contribute money toward homebuying expenses. However, societal expectations and a sense of obligation often lead couples to register for traditional gifts they don't actually desire.

Source: GettyImages | WPA Pool  Pool
Source: GettyImages | WPA Pool Pool

The pressure to conform to societal norms is leading couples to register for gifts they don't want, while gift-givers feel obligated to buy traditional presents. This disconnect between preferences and obligations results in dissatisfaction and wasted resources. However, the survey indicates a growing openness to alternative gift options, with 72% of respondents including opportunities for financial contributions toward large-ticket items on their wedding registries.

Source: GettyImages | WPA Pool  Pool
Source: GettyImages | WPA Pool Pool

The significance of financial assistance for first-time homebuyers is highlighted by the results of the survey. Additional support, including cash wedding gifts, can have a substantial impact on their path to becoming homeowners. Numerous first-time buyers have the aspiration to own a home and accumulate wealth, yet they face challenges in affording homes within the current competitive market. This trend exemplifies the evolving real estate landscape, where innovative approaches are required to surmount financial obstacles and attain the objective of homeownership.


According to Clare Trapasso, executive news editor at, many couples are openly requesting cash gifts that can be used towards purchasing a home. Some couples are straightforward, mentioning their preference for monetary contributions on their wedding invitations or websites. Others are turning to modern registry platforms that allow them to create a cash fund specifically designated for homebuying expenses. This way, wedding guests have the option to donate to their homebuying fund instead of purchasing traditional gifts.

In a challenging real estate market, this shift highlights the importance of adapting to changing dynamics and supporting the aspirations of first-time buyers. With the help of their loved ones, these individuals can overcome financial obstacles and turn their dreams of homeownership into a reality.