Multigenerational housing is the latest trend happening in real estate in America. In the past few years we have seen a steady incline in the percentage of homes with multiple generations under one roof and it’s not even confined to one age group, racial/ethnic group, or gender. According to Pew Research Center:

“Multigenerational family living – defined as a household that includes two or more adult generations, or one that includes grandparents and grandchildren – is growing among nearly all U.S. racial groups as well as Hispanics, among all age groups and among both men and women.  The share of the population living in this type of household declined from 21% in 1950 to a low of 12% in 1980. Since then, multigenerational living has rebounded, increasing sharply during and immediately after the Great Recession of 2007-09. 

In 2009, 51.5 million Americans (17% of the population) lived in multigenerational households, according to data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. In 2012, 57 million Americans – 18% of the U.S. population – were part of multigenerational homes, according to the last major Pew Research Center analysis of this data.”

I have seen this trend myself. I have been getting a lot of inquires for housing with “mother-in-law” suites, first floor bedrooms, 2nd entrances, and finished basements with usable bedrooms or houses that can be remodeled to offer these things. In fact, some smart builders have started catering to this need and building homes with multi-generational living in mind. For example the company, Lennar, started building “NextGen” homes to accommodate this growing demand back in 2011. Excerpt from Under One Roof from
“The brand is doing very well for Lennar, which has made a heavy push into the multigenerational space. Year-over-year, sales of NextGen grew by 24 percent in the third quarter of 2014, the latest company reporting available. It offers the floor plans in more than 200 communities nationwide, and the average sale price is about a third higher than the company’s overall average, according to Lennar officials.
“Older homes were built for young families, and we have 21 million households now living multigenerationally, with one generation having to share a bathroom that’s used by the entire house, some people live in the garage,” said John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “I think the builders figured out there was a huge opportunity here that they had missed, and Lennar was a real leader in this a few years ago, designing for these types of households.””
These homes offer more flexible floor plans so you can plan for your aging parents to come live with you or your kids back from college and in the meantime you have a fantastic space for a yoga studio, sound studio, or even a cool bar. Win, win! When your family moves in everyone has their own space to enjoy and decorate as they wish as these new homes are built with bedroom suites complete with kitchenettes and second entrances. You can be together but still have space for yourself. Multigenerational living is easier for the aging parents who need attention but doesn’t want to go, or cannot afford, assisted living, for recent college grads struggling to find jobs under a mountain of student loan debt, and even for those living with special needs family members. This living situation lets everyone feel independent yet cared for at the same time.
I find the trend intriguing because it’s not only due to the economic downturn and the Great Recession, that we are just now starting to bounce back from, that this shift to all living under one roof again is gaining popularity, but also because people are actually enjoying living together. We have turned into this rush rush society of never ending tasks and chores to accomplish, if everyone lives together there is more opportunity for everyone to pitch in and to enjoy your free time, when you have it, together as a family. Perhaps this societal shift will makes us nicer not only to our families, but also to our neighbors, communities, and to all our fellow Americans.