Young adults who moved back in with their parents may have been expected to move out again once the COVID-19 pandemic eases, but it’s becoming apparent that many are likely to want to stay at mom’s and dad’s even longer than that.
It’s a trend that has big implications for housing. Last year it was reported by the Pew Research Center that 52% of Americans aged between 18 and 29 years old were living with their parents, the highest percentage since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Many of those people moved back home thinking it was only going to be temporary, for a few months at the most. But now, more than a year later, most are still at home.
“I originally thought I would only stay for a couple of weeks, but with COVID-19 still out of control, I just stayed,” said Jess Cohen, a 39-year old public school teacher that leads a remote class, told the New York Post in an interview. “Thank goodness for virtual backgrounds on Zoom because teaching would be super embarrassing without them,” she said, adding that the childhood bedroom she lives in is frozen in time with a “Titanic” poster, a sign from her Sweet 16 party, stuffed animals, and glass knickknacks.
Donna San Antonio, an associate professor of counseling and psychology at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., told The Washington Post earlier this year that moving back home to mom and dad is, for many, a kind of “forced moratorium”.
“It’s an ideal opportunity to step back, assess the situation, and, maybe for the first time, ask, ‘What do I want to do?’ instead of chasing after what someone else told you to do,” she said.
Indeed, a lot of young adults say they are doing some soul-searching as they consider their next move. Geraldine Anello, the 24-year old founder of Handy Women, a home remodeling website, said that it might be a good idea for some younger adults living at home to update their childhood bedrooms to get back into the “adulting” mindset.
“It’s you wanting to enter a new phase of your life,” Anello told the Post. “The first step to feeling like an adult is looking like an adult. This should start with your room.”
Another way younger adults can get back into the adult mindset is by paying rent to help their parents pay off the mortgage. And if their finances mean they’re unable to pay the rent, they can instead help out with home improvements or taking care of the garden, for example.
Many young adults say that moving back home has taken a lot of getting used to, having to agree new ground rules with their parents. Still, some say they nevertheless prefer this to the torment of living alone in a studio apartment during the pandemic, with limited social contact.
Now, even as vaccinations begin to role out, hopefully signaling an end to the pandemic, not everyone is eager to move out again as soon as they can. Some younger adults say they now prefer to live closer to home, while others are jumping into the growing multigenerational home trend. Indeed, data from the National Association of Realtors shows that 16% of buyers in 2020 purchased a multigenerational home, versus just 11% in 2019.