COMMENTARY | Some experts are blaming Generation Y for the sluggish housing numbers because so many college grads "boomerang" back to live with their parents in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Young adults used to view buying their first home as a rite of passage into adulthood. With the current economic conditions, it makes more financial sense for young adults to pay off debt and save. Besides, I don't think the live-at-home trend is anything new and it's certainly not killing the housing market.
Remembering the original boomerang generation
My Generation X was the first to be labeled boomerang kids. Many of my college friends couldn't get jobs in the early 1990s. Many returned home to live with mom and dad.
I lived with my parents in between housing situations at one point in my early 20s.
According to a Forbes article, experts say much of the excess vacant housing is due to drop in demand. When people lose jobs they often lose their homes. Obviously people who have a difficult time getting a job such as Gen Y and Gen Z, won't be buying homes.
But that's nothing new. I didn't buy my fist townhome until I was 30. Most of my Gen-X peers were also forced to wait until they were in the 30s to buy a home.
Building homes to cater to the trend
Even though Gen-Y may not be buying homes, people in my generation are buying. Many of them are buying larger homes that will accommodate different generations.
We bought a home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms so that our children could have their own space.
I think the concept of multi-generational housing has provided a boost for many new home builders. While touring new home models a few months ago, I noticed a number of model homes with what used to be called "in-law suites." Now, they are marketed as a retreat for college students or young adults who return home. One home I toured had an apartment with a separate entrance and kitchen adjacent to the main home. Since there were stairs leading to the apartment, I don't think it was geared for a senior citizen.
According to Forbes, 51 million people in the United States live in multi-generational housing. Almost 30 percent of Generation Y (25 to 34 years old) lives at home.
Taking time to save up for a pad
My sons are the oldest of Generation Z. They are saving up money to buy their own homes. They aren't in any rush. Most of their peers live at home while commuting to college to save money. Generation Z teens, who survived the Great Recession, seem to be super savers instead of spenders. If the housing market is depending on anyone to help it recover, it may want to look to Generation Z in a few years once they have saved enough of their pennies.
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