DemographicsConsumer and Home Design Trends

5 Tips for Housing Multigenerational Families

Chris Porter photo

Chris Porter

March 3, 2016

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. 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.

CNBC recently featured our research (and our CEO) in a segment on multigenerational housing and highlighted this aspect of this growing trend.

While the Great Recession certainly accelerated this style of living for financial reasons, we believe that this trend will continue to grow as today’s retirees seek greater connection to their adult children and grandchildren, and the social stigma of multigenerational living seems to have disappeared.

Today, 14% of households in the US have two adult generations under one roof, and another 4% have a third generation (usually children) added on top of that—just like the family featured in the video. That amounts to at least 21 million households with two or more adult generations!

Today’s most-desired separate spaces are truly a home within a home, and key elements of those spaces should include:

  1. Privacy. The space should have its own entry and ideally a private patio.

  2. Dedicated bathroom. A dedicated bathroom should not be easily accessible to other house members or guests.

  3. Food area. A separate living space does not need a full kitchen, but it should at least have its own kitchenette to prepare simple meals and drinks.

  4. Entertainment area. A non-bedroom area for hosting a guest or watching TV without interrupting the rest of the family makes the space feel less like a single room.

  5. Controls. Having its own temperature controls makes the separate space that much more personal.


For more information about trends in multigenerational living, please contact Chris Porter.

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About The Author

Chris Porter photo
Chris Porter
Senior Vice President, Chief Demographer
Chris brings clarity to JBREC’s clients on demographic trends and translates their impact on local housing markets. He also analyzes and compares local housing market metrics in JBREC’s Metro Analysis and Forecast and Regional Analysis and Forecast monthly reports.

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