Why Mixed Generation Housing in NYC is Great for Everyone

Originally posted on October 20, 2021 3:00 pm
Updated on October 21, 2021 2:06 pm

Grandma and Grandpa don’t want to live on the other side of the city from their grandkids anymore, and why should they? Intergenerational housing in New York City is not a new thing, but it is increasingly popular, especially in the wake of the pandemic. 

As Baby Boomers retire in droves, Gen X and millennials get on with raising kids, and Gen Z knocks on the door of independent living, everyone is looking for ways to make life better.  Multi-generational housing offers enriching opportunities to connect with family at different stages of life, and that’s good for everyone. Native New Yorkers are ready to head back to Bay Ridge, West Village, and beyond to raise their kids close to their extended family while balancing work demands, and often it’s smart to do that under the same roof.

Spreading the responsibility around

Any time there are more than two adult generations living together under one roof, that qualifies as multi-generational housing according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Think about the college kid coming home or the family with young children moving the grandparents in. Where this was once considered a negative mark, more and more it’s become socially acceptable for families to live together. Judgement is out and family living is in. That incredible apartment in Chelsea with eight spacious closets and decadent hardwood floors might be out of your reach alone, but with the combined resources of your equally fantastic mother-in-law, it’s suddenly affordable housing.

Nuclear families now make up just 22% of American households. If buying a home in New York City on two incomes is a stretch, it’s almost impossible to imagine doing that with just one income. When you consider the booming housing market in NYC and across the United States, it makes sense for families to think creatively about pooling resources. This extends to issues with childcare, which have become complex as work-from-home pressures and ongoing pandemic realities put pressure on families. Having another family members living at home means they can make breakfast for the little ones while you hit those emails. 

It’s not only families with kids that split the bill on housing. Until recently, SNL favorite Pete Davison famously lived in his mother’s basement on Staten Island. Incidentally, he bought the four bedroom home for her in 2016 and had a self-proclaimed “man cave” on a lower floor that gave him plenty of room to stretch. He finally left the nest earlier this year for a two bedroom, two bathroom, 1.2 million dollar condo overlooking Manhattan. 

Is multi-generational housing for you?

Though it might feel a little like a step backward, moving in with family members is bursting with benefits for anyone in NYC. 

There are both personality and financial considerations to take into account here, but it’s a solution that’s worth evaluating. Here are some considerations to ponder.

  • How important is personal privacy to you? Could you share a bathroom with another adult without feeling pinched?
  • What’s your relationship like over the long term with potential housemates? How would living together potentially change that relationship? 
  • How would your budget change if you shared a home with another adult? Could this open possibilities for moving to an NYC neighborhood that would increase your satisfaction with daily life?

What’s important is that you feel empowered and strong in the choices you make about where you live in New York City. Old school rules and old school stigma doesn’t matter. If Chrissy Teigen can live with her mom, why can’t you? 

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