'Shared' households grow in popularity
Recession byproduct: Households with at least 1 'additional adult' increased by 11.7% from 2007 to 2010.
According to the Census Bureau, however, that conceit is the new normal for more folks, since the Great Recession. Between 2007 — just after the housing boom — and 2010, households with at least one "additional" adult increased by 11.7%. These living arrangements now comprise 18.7% of all households, according to the new Census report "Sharing a Household: Household Composition and Economic Well-Being: 2007–2010" (PDF).
The census defines shared households as those including one nonstudent over 18 who is not the householder or the spouse or same-sex partner of anyone in the home.
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These could include arrangements such as living with a roommate or roommates, having an older parent or relative move in, or allowing an adult child to come back home.
Already, the census has reported that the poor economy of recent years has spurred more people to cohabitate in these ways, often to offset the high cost of homeownership and rent, in relation to salaries and savings.
"Our analysis suggests that adults and families coped with challenging economic circumstances over the course of the recession by joining households or combining households with other individuals or families,” Laryssa Mykyta, a Census Bureau analyst and report author, said in a press release.
Adult children moving in with their parents comprise perhaps the largest subgroup in this trend. This spring, the Pew Research Center reported that 29% of parents with adult children said their kids had moved back home recently. More than 60% of adults ages 25 to 34 also said they had a friend who had done the same, according to the report.
In fact, there are now more of these multigenerational households than at any time since the 1950s, the Washington Post says.
Certainly, this trend may change the dynamic of dinner conversations. But it also underscores the shift in the housing market — and the one that may prolong traditional recovery. If fewer households form — another recession-era trend that has only recently abated — that means fewer people are buying homes in which to house them. And if more young adults are choosing their childhood bedroom over their first monthly mortgage payments, that further depletes the buyer pool.
Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors reported that first-time homebuyers accounted for 34% of existing-home sales in May, a share that has slipped in the past year.
But are these shared households really saving money by sitting out of the real-estate game, to an extent? In some ways, yes: The Pew survey reports that 77% of young adults living with parents say they "have enough money now to lead the kind of life they want or expect they will in the future." And the census says that fewer leaders of shared households live below the poverty level than other householders. That said, 45.9% of shared households' other members had incomes below the poverty line in 2010.
— Tony Stasiek is a producer/editor at MSN Real Estate.
: I owe 20 acres of very rural land with a private well and highway frontage. and a chance to get a very reasonable priced mobile home, but the Los Angeles County zoning laws will not allow single wide mobile homes on private property as a Granny Unit,
So here I am a 80 year old handicapped live alone senior with a small social security pension income being forced to occupy a 2 500 sq home; trying to find a few LIVE IN room mates to share the cost of maintaining this country home located on a peach orchard near Los Angeles.
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About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.