Home and where the heart is: marriage timing and joint home purchase

Jennifer Holland, University of Wisconsin at Madison

This paper evaluates the extent to which the purchase of a jointly-owned home is a catalyst for marriage among Swedish cohabiting couples. Joint home ownership may provide an indicator for commitment and relationship, economic and residential stability. Data for this analysis come from the Swedish Housing and Life Course Cohort Study (N = 1,908 couples; 2,568 cohabiting spells; 4,240 housing spells). I run separate models for the risk of marriage conditioning on a joint home purchase event and the risk of joint home purchase conditioning on a marriage event. I allow for differences in the risk 12 or more months before, 12 month before, 12 months after and more than 12 months after the conditioning event. Results indicate a positive relationship between marriage and joint home purchase. Furthermore, the risks of marriage and of a joint home purchase are particularly elevated in the 24 month window around each respective conditioning event. The analysis suggests the possibility of an ordering of events: home purchase may be a prerequisite for marriage in Sweden.

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Presented in Session 76: Transitions in the family formation process