Australia’s overheated housing market hasn't been kind to millennials. Rent is high, wages are low, and study after soul-destroying study is declaring that young people may never actually be able to buy their own places. Now, to top it all off, it looks like the parents are moving in with their kids—often to escape a housing market they helped to over-inflate.
Research suggests that one in five Australians currently live in “multi-generational” housing arrangements. That is, where more than one generation of related adults share the one residence. Of course, a lot of this is due to deadbeat millennials refusing to fly the coop. But experts claim the reverse is also becoming increasingly true, and that more and more boomers are choosing to move in with their grown-up children in order to save cash.
"We are generally seeing a greater change in terms of the number of older people living in this kind of arrangement," Dr Edgar Liu, a researcher from the University of New South Wales’ City Futures Research Centre, told the ABC.
Dr Liu literally wrote the book on the rise of multi-generational households in Australia, and says the fastest growing age group for multi-generational household members is those aged 65 and over. He also pointed out that more than half of the people interviewed in a recent survey said they elected the arrangement for financial reasons.
Speaking to Domain last year, Dr Liu confirmed that: “55 percent of our survey respondents said finance was one of the reasons they decided to live together.”
The second most common factor, according to data collected by the City Futures Research Centre, was the need to provide care or support to family members. In other words, rather than checking in to residential aged care facilities, a growing number of boomers are choosing to move back in with their kids so that they have someone to care for them in their twilight years.
While the trend of multi-generational housing appears to be on the rise, however, Dr Liu is transparent about the fact that sharing a drywall with the parents is likely to pose a few problems.
"One of the things people like most about living in this arrangement is the companionship,” he says. “But of course when there are so many of you living in the same house, you are bound to rub each other up the wrong way every now and then.”