That guest room you had planned to shelter the occasional out-of-town guest might not stay a guest room for long. And that empty-nest syndrome you've been worried about? It's may not be such a worry after all. Multigenerational living is one of the hottest trends in real estate, and if you haven't yet considered bringing different generations of your family under one roof, it may just be a matter of time.
"The number and share of Americans living in multigenerational family households has continued to rise, even though the Great Recession is now in the rear-view mirror," said the Pew Research Center. Their most recent analysis of census data, released last week, shows that, in 2014, "a record 60.6 million people, or 19% of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof."
The data also shows that multigenerational family living - "defined as a household that includes two or more adult generations, or one that includes grandparents and grandchildren" is not just growing among certain populations. It's "growing among nearly all U.S. racial groups as well as Hispanics, among all age groups and among both men and women," they said. That's up from 18% in 2012 and 17% in 2009.
Of particular interest are the two age-defined populations noted among the research.
"In recent years, young adults have been the age group most likely to live in multigenerational households," they said - largely a factor of "boomerang kids" returning to live at home after college, or staying at home instead of going away to college. But the other group is "Americans ages 55 to 64 (23% in 2014) and 65 and older (21%). The rise in multigenerational living among these older Americans is one reason why fewer now live alone than did in 1990."
The trend of baby boomers and retirees moving in with their adult children is a growing trend being seen across the country. "Over the next 40 years the 65+ population will reach 92 million who'd rather live with us than move into assisted living," said houselogic.
Want to make your home more suitable for multigenerational living? Get ready to renovate. "A big trend in the modern American lifestyle is changing the way we remodel our homes," said houselogic.
A few of their multigenerational remodeling strategies include:
Finish the basement, if you have one. This is a great place for a child returning from college to stake their claim, allowing them to be under the same roof but still have some privacy.
Invest in some soundproofing between walls (and floors, too, if needed).
Remodel or add a main floor bathroom. "Put in a curbless shower to make the shower easier to use for folks of all ages," they said. You'll also want to make sure there is ample space to move around (wide hallways that can accommodate a future walker or wheelchair if needed is ideal), the toilet is the right height, and there are grab bars in the bathtub.
Add a second entrance. This makes the area you've set aside for your adult child or parent more private.
If you're in the market for a new home, thinking about how to accommodate changing realities in your family and embracing multigenerational features may be a smart move.
"Almost 21 million households already live with multiple adult generations in homes not designed for multigenerational living. While we expect the numbers to steadily increase - especially with 44% of new home shoppers wanting to accommodate their aging parents someday - the big opportunity is to build homes for the millions of people already living in remodeled garages or storing their toothbrush in the main floor bathroom used by house guests," said John Burns Real Estate Consulting. "Most of these people would much prefer a house designed with their living situation in mind, and a large subset of them are homeowners or renters who can afford to purchase a new home."
Thankfully, new home builders are heeding the call, building in multigenerational living features in communities across the country. Lennar's Next Gen offers a "home within a home," with a private suite featuring a living area, kitchenette, washer/dryer, bedroom and bathroom, all accessed by its own entrance. It's proven to be quite popular with buyers.
The brand is doing very well for Lennar," said CNBC. "Year-over-year, sales of NextGen grew by 24 percent in the third quarter of 2014, the latest company reporting available. It offers the floorplans in more than 200 communities nationwide."
Pardee Homes is another builder whose focus on multigenerational-friendly homes have become popular, and profitable. "No surprise, homebuilders are "seeing dollar signs in families doubling up," said CNBC. "They offer theGenSmart brand of multigenerational homes."
Richmond American has new floorplan options offering a separate suite with a second master bedroom, kitchenette and private living room. Maracay Homes out of Arizona offers multigenerational designs as part of their New Arizona Living Collection, with "fully-equipped attached and detached generation suites.