Since 2000, The Pew Research Center reports that households with at least three generations of family members have increased by 30%. Wow – 30%! That seems like a pretty healthy gain to me but really not all that surprising.
Given the current economy, long life spans and the uncertainty of future financial security, the move back towards multi-generational housing makes a lot of sense. Aging parents are looking for ways to maximize their retirement income and not move into assisted living facilities. College graduates are coming back home due to lack of employment or the need for an assist as they first start out. Parents with young children could use an alternative to the added expense of day care. There are a plethora of reasons for everyone to move back in together and builders are beginning to recognize the trend with some changing floor plans.
The hot trend with new homes used to be two-story family rooms and foyers, elaborate media rooms, large owner’s suite sitting areas. While those options are still around, many buyers are looking to maximize the space in their home to allow for functionality with multi-generations as well as some privacy. Some of the latest designs: turning the 3rd bay of a 3-car garage into living space with a separate entrance, having an additional kitchen area or kitchenette, first-floor owner’s suites with another owner’s suite upstairs, living space above the garage that is normally storage or dead space, and full bedroom/baths in the basement with a kitchenette and laundry instead of the blown-out media room.
Whatever your needs might be, now or in the future, take some time looking at plans to find the right one now that will work for years to come. Don’t be afraid to ask the builder if there is any possibility of making minor adjustments to existing plans. And enjoy one of the best benefits of multi-generational living – the emotional richness of family sharing time together again.