Buying a property together is becoming the preferred way for couples to stay committed while avoiding marriage, research has revealed.
Figures released by the Post Office showed that 30% of people believe buying a home together would remove the pressure to get married, or at least delay their visit to the altar.
Considering the high cost of mortgages - averaging about £150,000 and repaid over 25 years - it is understandable that couples see buying a home as a significant sign of commitment.
More than 50% of those surveyed said they would consider purchasing property together before getting married, while only one-fifth of people said they would wait until tying the knot to buy a home.
The survey, which questioned 2,007 people, also revealed a generational gap in attitudes, with almost 66% people above 55 years of age saying that marriage is a bigger sign of commitment than buying property, while only half of the participants under 34 thought so.
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."