Buying a home has become a family affair for many households across America. What started for some as a result of economic pressure, has started a trend (although we should call it a comeback) that has outlived the recession. The financial benefit of buying a single property to house two or more generations has its appeal (especially as tight inventory has pushed home prices to all-time highs in many markets), but buyers don't cite cost savings as the primary reason for buying a multigenerational home.
According to data from the National Association of Realtors' 2017 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report , two of the top three reasons why buyers choose to live in a multigenerational home are motivated by their family. Among the 11% of buyers across all age segments that purchased a multigenerational home, 19% cite health/caretaking of aging parents as the primary reason for their purchase, 18% cite cost savings, and 14% cite children or relatives over 18 moving back home.
However, according to Pew Research's analysis of Census data, millennials are the primary driver of the growing trend. In 2014, 31% of the 60 million Americans living in a multigen household were age 25-29, accounting for the largest share by age group. Seniors age 85+ accounted for 24%, in stark contrast to their majority share of 63% in 1940.
NAR's survey results also show that Younger boomers (age 52-61) are the primary purchaser of multigenerational homes (accounting for 20%), and that the primary reason for purchase in their cohort is adult children and relatives moving back into the household. In general, Boomers have been the primary target in the multigen home market, and the generation has accounted for the largest segment of total buyers of multigenerational homes since 2014, when NAR added the topic to their annual survey.
The presence of multigen households varies by geography, however. According to 2016 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Hawaii, California, and Texas have the highest percentage of multigenerational homes in the U.S. While multigen households have increased across all genders and ethnicities, California and Texas are noteworthy as top states due to the large population of major ethnic and racial groups in those states. Pew's research found that there is a higher likelihood of major ethnic and racial groups living in multigenerational family arrangements, and "the long-term increase in multi-generational living since 1980 also reflects the country’s changing racial and ethnic composition."