New Real Estate Dance: Do The Double-Up

With all the news regarding foreclosures and declining homeownership it might be worth mentioning that real estate is keeping a lot of people out of poverty — especially those aged 25 to 34.

Figures from the Census Bureau confirm what’s widely been seen throughout America: Matt and Martha are moving back in with Mom and Dad. Multi-generational housing is here, if not by choice than as a rational economic strategy created by a lack of better alternatives.

According to David S. Johnson, Chief of the Census Bureau’s Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, some 5.5 million adults aged 25 to 34 now live with their parents. This means 13.4 percent of young adults are back at home.

The economics of multi-generational living are fairly obvious: The youngsters are not paying rent, heat or electric to an outside third-party. In many cases they are part of the new economy, which is to say they’re unemployed, under-employed or barely scraping by with a part-time job.

No one knows how many young adults are paying rent to their parents or chipping in other ways such as household maintenance and chores. In any case, the parents are hopefully getting the benefit of an extra pair of hands.

What we’re really looking at is the contraction of the American economy, a place where a college degree may hold little value in fields where the same work can be done overseas, a country where the bright promise of tomorrow has dimmed, a nation where it was once possible to support a household with one salary and then two and now for too many people it’s not possible at all.

As parents and adult children double-up a new and unfortunate reality has begun to settle in: For a huge swath of American households the future won’t be much more than a time of hanging on. In the not-too-distant future tourists from foreign lands will come to our shores to buy crafts at bargain prices, admire our great spaces and throw money off cruise ships to watch as native children dive for coins and currency beneath the sparkling sun.

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Posted in: Foreclosures

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