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The Burning Question: Can This Home Fit Multiple Generations?

The octogenarian population in the U.S. is projected to double over the next two decades, and that could change what households are looking for in their next home.

A large portion of the 80-something population will likely end up in senior housing or assisted living, but their first choice tends to be moving in with family. That will likely spark greater interest in homes with an “in-law unit” or garage apartment.

Investors and homebuilders are putting more focus on multigenerational living in single-family housing, believing it will be a bigger trend as the so-called “silver tsunami” strikes the housing market. Already, the National Association of REALTORS®’ data shows that 12% of multigenerational home purchases were made with the intention of moving in aging parents.

And a lot more shoppers may already have multigen households on their minds: research from John Burns Real Estate Consulting suggests that more than 40% of Americans are shopping for a home with their older relatives in mind.

That number of multigenerational households is expected to grow as the baby boomers get older. From 2011 to 2016, the number of households headed by baby boomers age 65 to 74 increased to more than 17 million, which is a 26% increase. Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ data also showed that the number of head-of-households 80 or older rose by 71% in that time.

But many seniors are showing hesitancy at moving.

“Interestingly, the option that may contribute most to the affordable housing crisis is ‘aging in place’—where seniors simply stay put in the homes they bought 40 or 50 years ago, even though they can’t use the space anymore,” The Motley Fool reports. “It’s the status quo, but it’s a problem for millennials struggling to gain a foothold.”

The seniors, however, may be more willing to move in with their family as more buyers look for multigenerational households to accommodate the multiple ages under one roof.

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