In the last few years, student loan debt and rising housing costs have been cited as the chief reasons why many young adults move back in with their parents. But a new Homes.com study suggests the real trigger may be a broken heart.

Since the Great Recession thwarted many millennials’ plans to move out on their own, an improving labor market has not done much to lure these young adults out of their parents’ houses. Why do they stay? In a recent survey of 500 “boomerang” millennials, 33 percent of 26- to 30-year-olds who moved back home cited a divorce or breakup as the primary reason; 37 percent of 31- to 35-year-olds and 24 percent of 36- to 40-year-olds said the same.

For millennials, it might be a combination of a breakup and unstable finances. Couples who live together often help each other financially by splitting housing costs, but post-breakup, the costs may be too much for one person to carry. Young adults may also be moving back home for emotional support to help them recover post-breakup.

“Home is a safe place a lot of times,” Grant Simmons, vice president of Homes.com, told CNBC. “Perhaps it’s just a safe place to get your act together and start fresh.”

Potential house hunters in the South – an area that includes Florida – may suffer the most heartache: 25 percent of survey respondents in the region saying they moved home due to the end of a relationship, followed by 20 percent in the Northeast, 17 percent in the Midwest, and 16 percent in the West.

Among all generations, the most commonly cited reason for moving back in with their parents was to save money for a home purchase, followed by a breakup or divorce. Other commonly cited reasons include unemployment and debt.

Of those who moved back home, 45 percent live in their childhood bedrooms, 12 percent sleep in the basement, 4 percent sleep in the living room and 2 percent move into the garage. About one in four (22 percent) pay rent to their parents, according to the Homes.com survey.

Moving back home is not always easy as an adult. Privacy and noise issues were the most commonly cited causes of household conflict, according to the survey.

Source: “This is the No. 1 Reason Young Americans Move Home With Their Parents – and It’s Not the Cost of Rent,” CNBC (Feb. 14, 2019) and “The Broken-Hearted Move Back Home,” The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 14, 2019)

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