More generations living under same roof

Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:50am EST
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By Lynn Adler

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More generations are living under the same roof and the trend will deepen as families grappling with near double-digit unemployment share expenses, a study showed on Monday.

Demand is escalating for multi-generational housing as buyers scale down during the deepest housing crisis since the Great Depression, according to a survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate in Parsippany, New Jersey.

Thirty-seven percent of the company's real estate agents polled in January said that in the past year, buyers were increasingly shopping for homes that fit more than one generation. Almost 70 percent of the agents said they expect economic conditions will drive still greater demand for this type of housing over the next year.

"More buyers are pooling investments, considering bringing mom and dad into it," said Diann Patton, a Coldwell Banker real estate consumer specialist based in Grass Valley, California, in an interview with Reuters.

Buyers were primarily driven by financial concerns when deciding to combine generations in a household, the survey found. Health concerns were the second most common reason and strong family bonds a distant third.

Patton said one of her clients sought to bring her mother out of a health care facility. The mother and daughter pooled resources, buying a house with separate entrances with units for each and room for a caregiver.

This shift in homeownership comes as unemployment hovers just under 10 percent and many consumers are being dealt wage cuts.

College graduates unable to get jobs are often returning to their parents' homes.   Continued...

<p>A pedestrian crosses Chestnut Avenue in Trenton, January 4, 2008. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer</p>