How Multi-generational Living is Transforming Real Estate in the USA

A few years ago my wife and I moved to the USA from England.  The main aim was to be near to my wife's parents, who, at that time, were living in New Jersey and not enjoying the best of health.

Frequent trips and an eight-hour journey time across the Atlantic was becoming increasingly impractical and so we made the decision to move.  And, before we knew it, circumstances had changed again, and both my father and mother-in-law now live with us under one roof.

Our experience of looking for a home that would accommodate all of us and provide the facilities that we needed, but also allowed the generations to live together in a way that met both needs and privacy, mirrors a trend that we are increasingly seeing among our clients.

Ill-health, the spiraling costs of both care and housing, and cultural factors, are seeing an increasing number of households where up to three generations may need to be accommodated under a single roof: from Baby Boomers to Millennials. Called 'multi-generational living', this is beginning to have a significant impact upon real estate here in the USA.

A recent survey showed that of 20,000 home buyers that were interviewed, 44% mentioned that they were willing to live with their elderly parents and 42% were willing to accommodate their adult children.

So, increasingly, it is not just 'grandma' who is coming to stay, but the kids may also be returning to the nest too! CNBC reports that 14% of US households, or 16.5M homes, are currently living multi-generationally.  And that is set to have a huge impact upon both the demand for housing and the type of houses that will need to be built in the future.

But just what is driving this trend? CNBC proposes three main reasons:

#1: Recession

Caught between jobs, young adults are delaying house purchase, marriage, and starting a family, and instead choosing to stay longer with mom and dad.

#2: Immigration

For Hispanic and Asian families, for example, multi-generational living is the norm and so many require larger homes to accommodate this cultural factor.

#3: Aging Baby Boomers

Many are already retired, or facing retirement, and, rather than move to adult communities or downsize, many baby boomers are moving in with their adult children to share costs and care.

But what does this mean for real estate?

Increasingly buyers are looking for homes that might enable, for example, elderly parents to live upon the first floor with a master suite. Others might see the potential in that unfinished walk-out basement for a downstairs apartment for their adult children. Additionally home builders are now constructing houses that will accommodate the specific requirements of multi-generational living.

While some trends in real estate come and go, multi-generational living is here to stay, so talk to your realtor about how you can market your home to this type of buyer.  Or, as a buyer, make sure that you deal with a realtor who understands your requirements.


I have a passion for real estate, whether you are selling your own home, or you are looking for your next one - let me be the one who guides you through the process and takes the strain, so you don't feel the pain. Email me at :; or call me on 518-417-7050

Picture Credit: Family Ties by Paladin27 at

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