Does this headline make you cringe? It shouldn’t. In fact, recent census data collection done by the Pew Research Center indicates that multigenerational living has grown steadily from 1971 through 2021. Multigenerational living is typically defined as two or more adult generations or a “skipped generation,” which consists of grandparents and their grandchildren under the age of 25. This trend only seems to be growing and the benefits can be substantial.
The most obvious benefit and the most likely driver of this scenario is financial. When you consider the older population, some folks might find themselves needing care they simply cannot afford so sharing expenses helps ease that burden. On the other side of the coin, the younger generation is often coming out of college with a tremendous burden of debt. If you add on starting a family, the cost of living quickly escalates. Combining these factors often makes home ownership out of reach. For this younger generation, sharing expenses creates an opportunity to pay down debt faster and start a journey of wealth building through real estate.
Caregiving is often the next factor that is considered when making the leap into multigenerational living. As our population ages, the younger generation can be tapped to care for their aging parents. Conversely, as the younger set begins to start families, living with their parents often provides a cost-saving element of childcare. This is often seen as a win-win as young parents can continue to build their careers and the grandparents have the ability to bond with their grandchildren.
Making this situation a reality that works for all parties takes conversation and compromise. Moving an older relative(s) in with a younger family requires space and may require some expense to make the property safe and functional for that older relative. Having a younger family move in with an older parent requires the setting of boundaries when it comes to space, time and child rearing. Expectations should be clear and solid in order to successfully navigate this set up.
In Frederick County and the surrounding counties, this trend is clear. There are currently 18 properties listed on the MLS with some kind of “in-law” suite. So the next time you’re at a happy hour and someone shares that they live with their parents….dig a little deeper. The benefits might just outweigh the drawbacks.