Multigenerational Homes … Might One Work For You?


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Or, as the French say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We are seeing recent college graduates moving in with their parents due to a tight job market and grandparents moving into houses refitted for multi generations. Many of us remember maiden aunts who lived together or in-law apartments for widowed grandparents. Family picnics, built-in holiday gatherings, more to cheer on youngsters’ successes and more support in times of ill health or job loss. Two of my friends reminisce fondly about their grandmothers having taught them to be gourmet cooks.

“According to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, approximately 51 million Americans, or 16.7 percent of the population, live in a house with at least two adult generations, or a grandparent and at least one other generation, under one roof. The Pew analysis also reported a 10.5 percent increase in multigeneration households from 2007 to 2009. And a 2012 survey by national home builder PulteGroup found that 32 percent of adult children expect to eventually share their house with a parent.”

There is a lot to be said for this old fashioned arrangement. It is often found in other cultures, such as Asian, Hispanic and African American.

“Another Pew report did find that more than three-quarters of “boomerangs” — the young adults ages 25 to 34 who move back in with their parents — were satisfied with their living situation. Almost half paid rent and nearly 90 percent helped with household expenses. And in a 2011 report of multigen dwellers by Generations United, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, 82 percent said the setup brought them closer, 72 percent mentioned improved finances, and 75 percent saw care benefits.

Consider long-term care costs alone. A 2012 MetLife Mature Market Institute survey put the average annual cost of a private nursing home room at $90,520, a semiprivate at $81,030 and assisted living at $42,600. Add to those costs the value of peace of mind knowing a loved one is being cared for by family, and multigenerational housing may be the new assisted living plan.”

The construction industry is jumping in to support the new trend with homes designed for multigenerational use and creative remodeling solutions. Lennar, a national builder introduced its first Next Gen house in Phoenix in 2011; its floor plans are now in 120 communities across the country.


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