Families that Live Together… seem to need more space.

At least that’s what I hear.

Multigenerationalhomes are coming back in a big way!

In the 1950s, about 21%, or 32.2 millionAmericans shared a roof with their grown children or parents. According to arecent Pew Research Center report,the number of multigenerational homes dropped to as low as 12% in 1980 but hasshot back up to 19%, roughly 60.6 millionpeople, as recently as 2014. Multigenerational households typically occur whenadult children (over the age of 25) either choose to, or need to, remain livingin their parent’s home, and then have children of their own. These householdsalso occur when grandparents join their adult children and grandchildren intheir home. According to the National Association ofRealtors’ (NAR) 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,11% of home buyers purchased multigenerational homes last year.


The top 3reasons for purchasing this type of home were:

To take care of aging parents (19%)

  • Cost savings (18%, up from 15% last year)
  • Children over the age of 18 moving back home (14%, up from 11% last year)

DonnaButts, Executive Director of Generations United,points out that, “As the face of America is changing, soare family structures. It shouldn’t be a taboo or looked down upon if grownchildren are living with their families or older adults are living with theirgrown children.” For a long time, nuclear families, (a couple and their dependent children),became the accepted norm, but John Graham, co-author of “Together Again: A Creative Guide toSuccessful Multigenerational Living,” says, “We’re getting back to the way humanbeings have always lived in – extended families.” This shiftcan be attributed to several social changes over the decades. Growing racialand ethnic diversity in the U.S. population helps explain some of the rise inmultigenerational living. The Asian and Hispanic populations are more likely tolive in multigenerational family households and these two groups are growingrapidly. Additionally, women are a bit more likely to live in multigenerationalconditions than are their male counterparts (20% vs. 18%, respectively). Lastbut not least, basic economics. Carmen Multhauf, co-author of the book “Generational Housing: Myth or Mastery forReal Estate,” brings to light the fact that rents and homeprices have been skyrocketing in recent years. She says that, “The younger generations have not beenable to save,” and often struggle to get good-paying jobs.

Bottom Line

Multigenerationalhouseholds are making a comeback. While it is a shift from the more commonnuclear home, these households might be the answer that many families arelooking for as home prices continue to rise in response to a lack of housinginventory.

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This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.