BOCA RATON — Young people—ever hungry for independence—have historically been eager to move far away from Mom and Dad once they come of age. Millennials, by contrast, are doing the opposite.
According to research from the PulteGroup Home Index, 40% of millennials rated close proximity to parents or in-laws as “extremely important” or “very important” to them.
That’s certainly the word coming out of Boca Raton. Real estate agent Brian Bahn grew up in the City For All Seasons and—after graduating from the University of Florida—returned home.
His family now resides within 5 miles of both his parents and his wife’s parents. Bahn described the move as primarily a matter of convenience.
“I really think the cost of living has gone up so much and for me in particular, it’s the cost of childcare,” the 32-year-old said. “It’s made it much easier to build wealth and maintain our standard of living having our parents so close by.”
As with many if not most American families, both Bahn and his wife work, which makes it that much harder to get things done around the house.
“It’s a lot easier having my retired mom cook dinner for us than trying to get everything together ourselves,” Bahn explained, going on to point out that his family spends at least 4 nights per week with either his parents or his in-laws.
Boca Raton realtor Lisa Hindin echoed the sentiment. Hindin is coming at the issue from the other side—as a mother of two millennial children.
“Millennials today rely on their parents for more,” she observed. “They take pride in family values … and are closer knit. Especially where you see both parents working, they really rely on their parents for childcare and support.”
With over 20 years in the real estate game, Hindin brings a great deal of first-hand knowledge to her observations of buying trends and why people move where they do.
“It’s about security,” she said of the trend of millennials flocking to their parents’ neighborhoods. “It’s emotional and financial security, a safety net they really want.”
Of that security, financial reporter Taylor Tepper—summarizing the findings of a paper by University of Chicago professor Greg Kaplan—wrote in February for Money.com that for millennials, living near parents “offers a kind of insurance in case you’re laid off” and also that “parents can enlist their social network to help their progeny find new work and might also motivate and encourage their kids to apply for another position that they may not have otherwise sought.”
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses for the homebound millennials, as Bahn can attest.
“It’s the emotional torture,” he says of the downsides, seeming only to be half-kidding as he relays that nearby family can be as bothersome at times as it is helpful at others.
Hindin concurred with some amusement, calling the phenomenon “the nagging mother syndrome.”
For millennials, though, who need every leg up they can get to combat rising rental prices, spotty job prospects and student loans, a little nagging may seem like a small price to pay for some much-needed support.