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Multigenerational home sales increase during COVID-19 pandemic as buyers care for parents

Multigenerational home sales increase during COVID-19 pandemic as buyers care for parents

DIGITAL MARKETING NEWS

Multigenerational home sales increase during COVID-19 pandemic as buyers care for parents

When Alena Shifrin’s parents in 2014 moved in with her family of four in Mount Kisco, New York, she knew she’d have to expand her 1,200-square-foot home.Soon the Cape Cod-style home about 37 miles northeast of Manhattan underwent a major renovation and grew to 2,300 square feet.Having her parents living with her allowed her to keep a close eye on her mother, who had suffered a stroke a few years earlier. It also allowed Shifrin to take up a job as a fitness instructor without worrying about watching her young children, then 9 and 5.She had been a fulltime stay-at-home mother to accommodate her husband’s busy schedule as an orthopedist. Now, her father could drive her children to their activities.But once the pandemic hit, the space started feeling cramped. And, the family wasn’t alone.Multigenerational family finds larger home in WestchesterOver the pandemic, Seth and Alena Shifrin from Westchester bought a larger home as it was becoming very difficult for all of them to work and learn from home.Mark Vergari, Rockland/Westchester Journal NewsWhile the number of Americans living in multigenerational family households has continued to rise in recent years, the pandemic seems to have further accelerated the trend.Before March 2020 – when cases of COVID-19 began to surge and the economy sputtered – approximately 11% to 12% of primary residence buyers every year bought multi-generational homes.In the first three months of the pandemic, however, that number jumped to 15%, according to a National Relators Association analysis.The NAR survey, based on 8,000 people who bought a home between April to June, found the top reason for buying a multigenerational home was to take care of aging parents. More: Finally tackling that home improvement project? Why you should expect delays, shortagesMore: ‘I don’t care that I’m overpaying’: How to win a real estate bidding warAs for Shifrin, her children were now 16 and 12, and they were attending school remotely. Her husband needed a quiet place while he treated his patients from home via telemedicine. Her fitness classes also had moved online.Alena ShifrinI was just so desperate. I was like, we’ve got to get out. This is not healthy. Everybody’s getting miserable. It’s time to go.“I was the one being loud. I have a little music and I’m singing and I’m like ‘lets do this,’ and everyone’s home and it’s chaos and my parents are like, ‘it’s so loud. Why are you guys so loud?’” she said “Not to mention, everyone was trying to find the best Wi-Fi spot in the house.”By November, right after Thanksgiving, Shifrin says she realized the multigenerational family had outgrown the house.The pandemic made the need to find a bigger home more pressing.“I was just so desperate. I was like, we’ve got to get out. This is not healthy. Everybody’s getting miserable. It’s time to go” she says.Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics research for the National Realtors Association, said taking care of aging parents and spending more time with them and relatives was a “top priority” for purchasing a multigenerational home.Lautz added that other reasons included adult children moving back home and cost savings that results from multiple incomes purchasing a larger house together.In 2016, 64 million people, or 20% of the U.S. population lived with multiple generations under one roof, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data.  Kayla Hardin, 20, her cousin Serena Shifrin, 16 and Serena’s mom Alena Shifrin, check out their intimate garden in the backyard of their home in Mount Kisco, NY, May 21, 2021.Mark Vergari, USA TODAY NetworkThat number was the highest since 1950, when three or more generations living under one roof composed 21% of all households.John L. Graham, professor emeritus at the University of California, Irvine and co-author of “All in the Family: A Practical Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living” says the growth in mutigenerational households is a cultural shift back to the way things once were and that the arrangement is mutually beneficial.“It’s only in the last 50 years in the United States and the Northern European countries that people have tried out the nuclear family living,” he says. “It just doesn’t work well. Grandparents and grandkids are supposed to be near each other.”Graham says families living together has enormous psychological benefits, particularly for the elderly when they are around younger people.“Especially during the pandemic, with a shortage of healthcare workers, the family is going to be the saving grace of home health care,” Graham said. Shobha Bhatnagar and familySubmittedWhen the pandemic hit, Shobha Bhatnagar and her husband, Gaurav, found their adult children back at home in Scarsdale, New York, about 20 miles south from Shifrin’s family.Their daughter had returned from college to learn remotely, and their son, who was working in Brooklyn, moved back home with his partner.The couple’s mothers, who live in India, also were slated to join them later in the year.While the family had planned to move to Connecticut to escape the high tax school district where they were living, they’d never thought of buying anything much larger than their 2,400 square-foot-house.The pandemic convinced them otherwise.The couple knew they no longer could plan to alternate the mothers’ visits and would need more space.That’s when they found the house of their dreams.In June, they saw a 5,000 square-foot home in Stamford, Connecticut, with six bedrooms, a cottage and pool for which they paid less than the smaller Scarsdale home. They said the best part about the house was that it had two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the lower floor so their mothers wouldn’t have to climb up the stairs.“It was a place where each person could have their own space and be together to watch TV. The other thing was that they kept each other company and did not feel isolated,” says Shobha Bhatnagar, who co-owns a management consulting firm with her husband. “We were working extra-long hours. They would spend the mornings cooking and feeding us and then watch TV afterwards.”Shobha Bhatnagar with her mother and daughterSubmittedThe rise in multigenerational living can be attributed to racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population, according to Pew Research.  Among Asians living in the U.S., 29% lived in multigenerational family households in 2016, according to census data. Among Hispanics and Blacks, the shares in 2016 were 27% and 26%, respectively. Among whites, 16% lived with multiple generations of family members.For Shifrin, having her parents at home where she could watch them was a major source of comfort during the pandemic.“A lot of seniors are suffering depression from isolation because they can’t see their families,” she says. “I was able to make sure that my parents got their vaccinations, and I could drive them without worrying about getting them sick since we were all quarantining together.”Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy is the housing and economy reporter for USA TODAY. Follow her on Twitter @SwapnaVenugopalStories like this are possible because of our subscribers like you. Your support will allow us to continue to produce quality journalism.Stay up to date by signing up for one of our newsletters.Sign upPublished
11:20 am UTC May. 23, 2021
Updated
12:27 pm UTC May. 23, 2021


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