Designing your home

The Rise in Multi-Generational Living and Homes in Australia

The Rise in Multigenerational Households

Multigenerational households refer to homes where multiple generations of people live under one roof. This can simply be adult children living with their parents, through to the addition of grandparents and even great-grandparents. 

Intergenerational living is by no means a new concept, in fact it is a very traditional way of living and considered the norm in many cultures. For example in Italy, more than 65% of people aged 18-34 live at home with their parents according to the latest data from Eurostat. Across the Middle East and Africa as well many young adults live with their parents since familial bonds are so highly valued. It is also customary in many of these cultures for young adults to live with their parents until they are ready for marriage. 

Familial traditions aren’t the only reason many cultures choose to embrace a multigenerational lifestyle. Financial practicality is another common reason, for example in one of the worlds most expensive cities of Hong Kong, where 76% of adults aged 18 to 35 live with their parents due to housing prices. 

So, what is influencing the influx here in Australia? An older population that is living longer alongside an economy that is requiring more than one person in the family to work full time, is fostering the need to support one another. The impact COVID-19 has had on the economy has pushed more families to stay living under one roof, not just in Australia but worldwide. This is happening since more young people are struggling to afford to leave home, alongside their grandparents who are perhaps experiencing similar financial stress. 

This being said, multigenerational housing was rising in Australia many years before COVID-19, and was initially influenced by immigration trends, with migrants over the past 5 years bringing many aspects of their lifestyle to Australia. This also means a trend can be seen for increased multigenerational living in Sydney and Melbourne, since these cities are the most popular destinations for immigration. 

What Are the Pros & Cons of Multigenerational Living?

The encouragement of living situations shared between young and old is still relatively nascent in Australia, but it offers many great positive and practical outcomes. It can minimise segregation, stress, feelings of social isolation, all while encouraging social connection and wellbeing. 

Multigenerational housing can offer unique benefits to each generation involved. For older generations living with their children and grandchildren, the greatest benefit can be related to social isolation and healthy aging. Seniors who lead rich social lives are found time and time again to be healthier than those who live in isolation. This presents a societal challenge since it becomes more and more difficult to stay socially active as we age. 

Multigenerational housing provides daily interaction without having to leave the house or access a home visiting program. This not only benefits older generations but also young adults and adolescents who are observed to experience similar issues with isolation. Subjective loneliness tends to be high in adolescence and young adulthood, decline through middle age, then rise sharply again in old age, meaning pairing seniors with young adults in multigenerational households provides benefits to both parties.

Another substantial pro to multigenerational living arrangements is financial, both for aging citizens as well as young adults saving for their own home. Not only do many seniors prefer the idea of aging in their own home, but it can also be the more cost-effective solution by reducing costs associated with care facilities, in-home assistance programs, and unnecessary visits to the hospital. For young adults on the other hand, with such high rental prices its unsurprising that intergenerational living offers such an attractive alternative to the average rental costs. 

While living with your family for longer than completely necessary has its distinct advantages, there are also some cons that are worth considering. These downsides are often more related to lifestyle and are unique to each individual family dynamic. The most common issue for many adults living with family is the lessened degree of privacy. Multigenerational houses can also lead to legal complications in instances of disagreements. For example, when purchasing a home with family, but then having one party wish to sell or move elsewhere.

What Floor Plans Work Best for Multigenerational Living?

Multigenerational housing can be made significantly easier with the right home design and set up. Some home designs better lend themselves to this way of living, allowing for added separation and privacy. Some of the features that allow for a more pleasant living experience include multiple master bedrooms, larger kitchens and living rooms, or alternatively multiple living areas. 

Zone-style homes for private areas also allow for a higher degree of independence. This means choosing a floor plan that has different designated sections, for example, a “kid zone” where the kid’s bedrooms, a kid’s lounge room, and kid’s bathroom is all located with another area of the house where the master bedroom, additional lounge area, and main bathroom is situated. 

Another solution can be choosing a floor plan with a finished basement or granny flat. This way you all are able to live on the same property without sharing all of the same general areas, allowing for a more independent lifestyle. 

Coolum 225 plus Granny Flat Floorplan

Example Floorplan: Coolum 225 plus Granny Flat

How Have Our Home Designs Changed to Meet the Demand?

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we have always offered personalised services to modify existing plans to suit any family situation, for example, adding granny flats for family members with differing requirements. This way, our home designs can meet more specific niches and be designed for specific client requirements. 

Home designs created specifically for intergenerational living will also be released in May 2021. These home designs will include features such as two master suites on separate floors and large living spaces. This will allow for home designs that can suit any family’s unique needs and lifestyle. 
To discuss a home plan that perfectly suits your lifestyle or enquire about the best multigenerational homes Australia has to offer, contact your local G.J. Gardner office today.