Multigenerational households are on the rise and, as a result, builders are responding to new design demands that harken back to the 1940s, reports the New York Times. Architectural historians and statisticians remark that the emerging household is nonlinear and includes extended family members, the type of family structure that was prevalent pre-World War II.
There are more than 50 million multigenerational households in America, and many are looking for homes with flexible spaces that can be used by extended family members. Lennar, one of the country’s largest homebuilders, is focused on creating the “Next Gen — The Home Within a Home” house that runs on one electric meter. The Pulte Group now offers floorplans with larger “flex rooms” and an over-the-garage apartment called the Grand Retreat. Scott Thomas, national director of product development for the PulteGroup, says that “for whatever reason, whether it’s the return of something that was part of our lifestyle in the past, or simply related to the economy, multigenerational living is definitely taking place.” In fact, 30 percent of Pulte customers want additional space, integrated into the single-family home, that can be utilized by an elderly parent, a boomerang young adult child, or even a tenant.
Multigenerational households are up 10 percent from 2007 and have increased by about 2 percent annually between 1980 and 2006, based on a Pew study. Approximately 41 percent of adults between 25 and 29 are living or have recently lived with their parents. According to the Housing Zone blog, Latino and Asian families post the largest numbers of multigenerational households. Both the economic recession as well as trends in household formation, particularly among ethnic groups, are impacting multigenerational living and creating a new niche and opportunity for the real estate market.