Millennials have been in no rush to move out on mom and dad. Nearly 22% of them, or more than 14 million young adults, still live with one or both parents, according to real estate website Zillow. That is the highest share for this age group since at least 2000.
Millennials, especially older ones, have had a harder time moving out because they came of working age during the last recession and had difficulty finding well-paying jobs. They also have high levels of student loan debt.
"While it might be tempting to stereotype these young adults as lazy millennials bumming off of Mom, the data paints a different picture," said Zillow senior economist Sarah Mikhitarian. "When the housing market went bust and the economy unraveled into a recession, young adults increasingly returned to their childhood home."
This doesn't mean they don't want to be homeowners. Various surveys show millennials do aspire to homeownership, just as previous generations did, but they have trouble saving for a down payment. Rents are very high right now, as well, so moving to a rental doesn't help young people save to buy.
Housing expenses such as rent and insurance add nearly three years to the time it takes a typical renter to save up for a 20% down payment on a median-priced home. That's according to home and apartment rental site Hotpads, which is owned by Zillow. That's because the typical renter spends about 34% of his or her income on housing. It takes the typical renter about eight years to save for a down payment, if they are able to sock away about 16% of their income each year. And of course, in some locations that's easier to do than in others.
If you live with mom and dad, and they don't charge you rent, you can save for that same down payment in about five years. That's the plus side.
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But it's not all home-cooked meals and getting mom to do your laundry. Living in your parents' home has consequences. Young adults who lived with their parents between the ages of 25 and 34 were actually less likely to become homeowners after 10 years than those who didn't.
Even if they did buy a home, they didn't carry any less mortgage debt than those who moved out earlier, all this according to a study by the Urban Institute, which concluded that living with your parents does not actually put you in a better financial position for homeownership.
Homeownership is a critical source of future wealth. Because homes generally gain value, living with your parents — and thereby reducing your odds of earlier homeownership — could actually hurt you in the end.
More families, however, are choosing to live multi-generationally, which can benefit everyone financially.
Millennials who live with their parents long term and become partial owners of the property over time can benefit from the home's appreciation. Homebuilders have definitely latched on to this trend. They are building more homes designed specifically for multiple generations. Some have separate entryways and second kitchens.
There are pros and cons to continuing to live with mom and dad. As for the emotional ramifications — that depends entirely on the family.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.