Multigenerational Living: Better For Your Wallet?

Dec 5, 2023

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The trend of multigenerational living is on the rise, causing quite a stir in the housing market. What’s that, you ask? It’s families choosing to live together under one roof, spanning two or more generations. Initially, we thought this was just a blip on the radar. But this isn’t just a passing phase. Multi-gen living is a significant shift reshaping what people seek in a home.

Sure, challenging economic times have led to an increase in multi-generational households. But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, this trend has a silver lining – it’s creating a unique opportunity for families to grow closer and build stronger support networks. So, while the economic situation might seem tough, families are finding ways to turn it into a positive. Now, that’s resilience for you!

Breaking Down the Numbers

The multi-gen living home trend has steadily increased since 1971, according to a study from Pew Research Center. Let’s break this down:

  • During the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, multigenerational home purchases increased from 11% to 15%.
  • Multigenerational households have more than doubled, from 7% in 1971 to 18% in 2021.
  • About 5% of these households are grandparents raising grandchildren.
  • Americans ages 25-39 and 55-64 are each 22% likely to live in multigenerational housing.
  • Young adults with only a high school education are more likely to live with their parents and for extended periods.
  • People in multigenerational households are less likely to live in poverty.

The Population Is Getting Older

As we look towards the future, we see a significant demographic shift on the horizon. Let’s unpack this. In 2020, there were 3 ½ adults of working age for every person of retirement age. By 2060, the number of working-age adults per retiree will shrink to just 2 ½. In addition, people are living longer—the median age is set to jump from 38 to a ripe old age of 43. So, in simple terms, we’ve got fewer workers supporting more retirees.

“The aging of baby boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history,” said Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the Census Bureau. “By 2035, there will be 78 million people 65 years and older, compared to 76.4 million under the age of 18.” (LEARN MORE: Age 65+ Adults Are Projected to Outnumber Children by 2030)

Why Are Families Choosing Multigenerational Living Options?

Multigenerational homes are becoming the new norm, thanks to the countless benefits they offer:

  • A sense of community and support within families.
  • Pooling of resources to afford a home, easing the financial strain.
  • Younger generations can learn from the wisdom and experience of older folks
  • Grandparents can take an active role in the daily lives of grandchildren.
  • Grandchildren can become caregivers for elderly grandparents.

Tackling the Challenges: Making Multigenerational Living Work

Admittedly, living under one roof with several generations could be a bit daunting – and yes, it does come with its unique set of challenges. But guess what? It’s totally doable with clear, open communication channels and a bit of smart planning. Here are some tips to make multi-gen living work for your family:

  • Establish clear boundaries and expectations from the beginning.
  • Honestly communicate about finances, household responsibilities, and personal space.
  • Be respectful of each other’s privacy and personal space.
  • Make time for individual and family activities to maintain a healthy balance.
  • Celebrate the diverse perspectives, experiences, and skills each person brings to the home.

The Future of Housing: A Vision for Multigenerational Living Communities

Undoubtedly, our shifting demographics will leave a lasting impact on our society and the real estate landscape. As a result, expect more homes with ‘in-law’ suites as versatile secondary dwellings become the norm. The keyword here is “accessibility.”

So, what’s the big challenge for community planners and developers? Simply put, it’s about creating spaces where everyone, young or old, can flourish. Imagine homes that are a stone’s throw away from everything you need—hospitals for health care, grocery stores for daily essentials, workplaces for earning a living, and retail outlets for a bit of retail therapy, for example. As you can see, it’s a pretty tall order but also an opportunity that’s seriously exciting and brimming with potential.

Exploring the Possibilities of Multi-Gen Living

Lastly, if you’re independent, multigenerational living may seem less than desirable. But it’s important to remember that our perceptions come from the cultural norms we’ve grown up with. If you’re feeling the pinch of inflation, this might be the answer you’re looking for.

Taking a step back and opening your mind to different housing options may reveal things you have not considered. Start by having open conversations with your family about the pros and cons. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every circumstance. In fact, what matters most is finding a living arrangement that aligns with your family’s values, needs, and long-term goals.

Think outside the box and consider the possibilities. What you find might surprise you!

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