Housing Designs to Accommodate Multigenerational Demands

The trend of multigenerational housing persists as many families are “doubling up” during the current economic environment. With more than 22 million households that include adults who are not spouses or parents, housing designs are shifting. The changing shape of the American family includes boomer couples with boomerang children and aging parents. Housing three generations under one roof is not uncommon in today’s climate. Even single adults may choose to double up with family or friends. The US Census reports that many 20-somethings are postponing marriage until later in life. Another factor is the rising costs of healthcare and disability. Unaffordable healthcare and care giving creates a heavy burden but having everyone under one roof may help to ease the load of providing primary care.  These and other driving factors have shifted the modern home construction design. During the past several years, most homeowners have opted for smaller spaces and practical square footage. However, buyers are seeking properties with more “flex space.” The most common design change requires living arrangements that will accommodate additional family members. This plan includes the "in-law" setup, with separate entrances, custom floors and sections that feature senior-friendly kitchenettes, bathrooms and amenities. Another option is to retrofit the existing structure with a modular room to accommodate extended family. Media rooms and wine cellars are swapped for additional bedrooms and baths. The multi car garages and home gyms are replaced with kitchenettes and private accesses. Multigenerational housing is expected to continue despite the signs of an improving economy. If these predictions are realized, I foresee a resurgence of McMansions and flex homes that will accommodate the growing trend. We should certainly expect to see more and more families come together under one roof to rally resources and provide each other emotional support.