The percentage of Americans living in multigenerational homes rose from 12 percent in 1980 to over 18 percent in 2012. This growth is projected to continue due to a combination of high housing costs and tighter household budgets, both within the USA and Europe. Fitting more than one adult generation into a home comes with special considerations, so here’s a closer look at what’s entailed in multigenerational living.
There are a number of reasons why a family might choose to house multiple generations under one roof. Ageing parents might need extra hands-on care from adult children, postponing their need to move into a nursing home. In 2017, the life expectancy of a European was 78 years on average, that of a Western or Southern European even 81.5 years, and the trend is rising. At the same time adult children may find it difficult to get on a property ladder of their own due to housing costs. Add high student loan debts and a competitive job market, and there's plenty of incentive for them to move back in with their parents.
On the surface, there's clear financial incentive for all parties involved to share housing. However, there are additional benefits to multigenerational living, ranging from built-in childcare for grandchildren to increased flexibility when it comes to travel plans. For retirees on a fixed income, more money can be tied up for in-home healthcare.
It’s certainly possible to fit multiple generations under a single roof, provided that there's plenty of space. With an eye towards the growth of this trend, the homebuilding industry has also responded to the increased demand for multigenerational homes, especially in Northern and Western European countries where the single household used to be one of the most popular housing situations. One example is the NextGen series of home designs, which feature separate entryways, living spaces, bathrooms and kitchenettes. These multigenerational house plans include a main home area ranging from 1,800 to 2,200 square feet alongside a separate apartment with its own entrance, private parking and living space. While children may technically be right next door to their parents, they experience a high degree of privacy.
While there are plenty of new buildings constructed with multigenerational needs in mind, you can also adapt your existing living space by installing a separate kitchenette, entryway and bathroom for privacy. If working with limited space in an urban setting, consider revamping your garage, attic or other secondary space – just be sure to check all local zoning laws in advance. It’s also a good idea to set some ground rules as you would with flatmates. Determine in advance how you'll be sharing the cost of utilities, and whether or not you’ll be sharing food. With crystal clear rules and boundaries, you’ll be able to live under one roof in harmony. From converted urban spaces to newly-built properties, there are lots of ways to integrate multigenerational homes into the modern real estate landscape. Find more property insights here and follow this trend on the upswing.