Love, commitment and the joint mortgage...

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Will you, my one true beloved, do me the great honour of … getting a joint mortgage?

It’s not very romantic, eh? But according to new research, it’s considered a bigger commitment than marriage or babies by almost half of Brits.

However, St Albans and Harpenden lovers seem slightly more passionate – as just over a third of respondents in the South East (33 per cent) said that taking on a joint mortgage is the strongest sign you are dedicated to the relationship.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Londoners were more cynical, with 41 percent of those surveyed suggesting that putting your money where your mouth is beats getting hitched or starting a family together in the devotion stakes.

The study, carried out by Online Mortgage Advisor, was undertaken as part of ongoing research into British attitudes towards the importance of mortgages and how it fared compared to other big relationship milestones.

It involved quizzing 2,310 Brits aged 18 years old and over, who were asked what they perceive to show the most dedication out of marriage, kids and joint mortgages.

Pete Mugleston, director of Online Mortgage Advisor, said: “Attitudes have changed over the last 20 and 30 years and we are seeing a shift in priorities. It’s acceptable now to own a house and live together out of wedlock, as people feel increasingly less pressure to make traditional commitments when owning a home is more binding from a legal perspective.

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“Tying yourself to someone for a long period of time and putting money into something that will belong to both of you equally, is not a decision to be taken lightly. Having a joint mortgage is often seen as the new marriage, as there are more legal implications and still a great deal of devotion, as people are willing to make a huge financial investment in their partnership.”

Results were broken down into regions. Generally, northerners were more likely to choose having a child or tying the knot as a mark of true love. For example, only around a quarter of West Midlanders (24 per cent), and those living in the North East (26 percent) thought a joint mortgage came top.

According to the poll, the reasons they gave included ‘sharing finances requires a lot of trust’ (36 per cent), ‘you can always get divorced if a marriage doesn’t work out’ (21 per cent) and they would be ‘happy to be a single parent’ if a relationship fell apart (11 per cent). And some people say romance is dead…