Now Trending: Multigenerational Living

Multigenerational Homes

Multigenerational living is currently trending in the housing market. The shift can be attributed to several factors, including increasing housing costs, the fact that Americans are living longer, and a growing and increasingly diverse immigrant population.

According to a 2018 Pew Research report, a record 20 percent of the U.S. population, 64 million people, lived in multigenerational households in 2016. The figure has been rising steadily since the 1980s.

Multigenerational homes are defined as homes with one or more adult generation living in them. The term encompasses situations ranging from children moving back in with the folks to aging parents moving into their adult children’s home rather than a nursing home.

The ongoing shift to multigenerational living has significant consequences for real estate developers, who have begun moving beyond the cookie-cutter suburban models and creating flexible floor plans to accommodate unique family structures. High on the list of requests are separate entrances, main-floor bedroom suites with private kitchenettes, and separate outdoor spaces.

The benefits of multigenerational living are many, and include far more than just a significant cost savings. Younger adults can help care for elderly parents, for example, or grandparents and older family members can provide care for younger children.

Americans are living much longer these days, and retiring later than ever before. A report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies says that the number of Americans over 80 will double in the next two decades. American families are planning accordingly, with 44 percent of home shoppers seeking a house that could potentially accommodate elderly parents, according to a 2016 survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

The millennial generation has also affected housing trends with a preference for intergenerational housing over finding a place of their own. In 2016 a record 15 percent of millennials choose to live at home with their parents after high school or college, according to Pew research.  

Additionally, Asian and Hispanic families are culturally more likely to live in multigenerational homes. As these immigrant groups move to the U.S. in greater numbers, they bring the trend along with them. In 2016, according to Pew data, 29 percent of Asian and 27 percent of Hispanic households were multigenerational, while just 16 percent of white households were.

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