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Why Multifamily Construction Has a Positive Trajectory

Could you live with your parents again? What about the in-laws? Whether it’s aging parents moving in with their adult children or young adults living back with mom and dad, multi-generational households have specific needs when it comes to a home. Custom builders are seeing an increasing need to tailor homes to this lifestyle. A recent Pew Research Center study shows that 39% of adults ages 18 to 34 have had to move in with their parents. In the same year, the U.S. Census reported that 4.3 out of 76 million households were made up of at least three generations.


Since the housing crisis in early 2006, new single-family home construction has been slow to recover and has yet to match the rebound of the economy. Young people are overcome with student debt and are delaying marriage compared to their predecessors, making buying a home a lower priority. For many millennials, it doesn’t make sense to allocate money toward a down-payment when they already need to be saving for retirement and paying off their student loans. The trend, however, will eventually wean off. Millennials are entering the home-buying market more and more as they get married and start families. “Looking forward, millennials will continue to help drive multifamily construction over the next few years. Over the longer term, however, baby boomers will be the main driver of multifamily construction as they age through their senior years” (Rappaport, 2015.) The other generation that is moving in, are parents. Multi-generational families often build homes that include the traditional mother-in-law suite or even feature a locked-off living space within the home. These apartment-style spaces can have their own kitchenette, full bathroom and living areas to provide a sense of privacy and independence when they shouldn’t be living alone. The leading edge of the baby boom is about to enter the age range where such downsizing accelerates and so U.S. multifamily construction is likely to remain strong over the coming decades.







Rappaport, Jordan, Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Rebounding Multifamily Home Construction (June 23, 2015). Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Working Paper. Available at SSRN: