18 Mar What To Think About When Building For Multiple Generations

Senior woman preparing food with her granddaughter standing behind her and smiling

According to a recent Coldwell Banker survey, 70% of their sales agents think the current economic conditions will cause a greater demand for multi-generational homes in the next few years and probably beyond. The survey also reveals that 37% of those agents have seen an increase in home buyers looking to purchase homes to accommodate multiple generations.

This data confirms a BuilderOnline.com article written back in April 2009. It includes AARP survey information about the increase of multi-generational homes from 2000 to 2006. At the time, the included data wasn’t recent enough to reflect the harsh economic downturn. A downward economy was only an assumption at that point.

The Coldwell Banker survey confirms some of these previous assumptions. The author speculates that older family members might be providing financial assistance to their children. However, the general feeling is that this new trend in older parents moving in with their children is something that would happen regardless of financial help. The cost of elder care facilities might play a part or is it that families are searching for another time where extended families helped raise the children?

An increase in demand for multi-generational homes creates a niche market within the industry. Developers and builders looking to enter this niche market should research floor plan options and amenities desired during planning. As the BuilderOnline.com article says, “Are you moving mom into a spare room? “. No, you need to provide living space as well as a place to sleep.

Each generation needs its own space. If this isn’t included in your product, you are not going to be successful in this market. Incorporating two master suites has been proven effective in multi-generational design coupled with multiple laundry rooms.

Features for these homes need to appeal to each generation. Safety features for the older generations are crucial when designing the home.

Creating a planned community for multi-generational homes will require you to promote community across multiple generations. Boomers love socialization and will crave areas to congregate. Their children may want similar things but may also need playgrounds. It is a safe bet that the majority will want walking trails.

This might seem challenging, but there seems to be great potential in this niche. This is a trend that I would watch closely. It will be interesting to see who does it right and who comes up short.

Sibet B Freides