Demand for Multi-generational Housing


As we emerge from this housing depression I believe there will be a strong demand for multi-generational housing. That is, housing that provides a separate, private living space designed to accommodate everything from an elderly parent to a rebounding college graduate child, to a live in nanny or rental tenant.

This space need not be detached (although that would be ideal), just separate enough to enable someone to get away from the rest of the family and escape to their own quiet place. Depending upon the budget, it may include a small kitchen/wet bar area, a private entry and, even a garage bay.

Although the economy has forced us to recognize the need for such housing, I think it has existed for some time – just as a smaller segment of the market. In the future it may represent a larger share. It makes perfect sense, really.

Maybe I see this more clearly because I am at the stage of life where I can see so many of my friends facing situations with these needs. They have adequate space in their houses, it is just allocated inefficiently for their present needs. Just think of all options.

  1. Home Office – So many more people are working at home from a computer.
  2. Elderly Suite – More and more people are opting to keep their elderly parents at home, rather than pay the high costs of assisted living.
  3. Rebounders –    College graduates come home if they can’t find a job or to save money and they are used to living on their own. They need their own space.
  4. Nanny Suite –    Living quarters for extended stay guests.
  5. Exercise/Play –  Because these areas are set apart they often work well as exercise rooms, billiard areas, even “man caves” before they are converted to more serious uses down the road.
  6. Apartment –     As we age these spaces can transition to a rental

apartment that can provide income, security, and assisted care. Municipalities are changing zoning laws to accommodate these rental apartments.

The list of potential uses is long.

These don’t need to be a part of new houses either. Adding a suite with a bedroom, bath, small living area and separate entrance to an existing residence makes tremendous sense and is one of the more popular trends in remodeling today.

I suspect that a large portion of what we do in the future will incorporate these multi-generational spaces. When I look at building lots these days I always find myself mentally designing houses with these features. If you think you are one of those people with such an upcoming need shoot me a note and we can swap ideas.