Home Trends Changing for Multigenerational Households

home trends are changing to reflect household changesHome trends are changing to support multiple generations living under one roof. We’ve had in-law apartments for years — by finishing the basement, putting on a bedroom addition or converting existing space like the family room, when more bedrooms were needed.

Home conversions used to be for older parents unable to live on their own. Now older children are living or returning home for extended periods and families are doubling up with the spike in foreclosures forcing families out of their homes. There are now 60 million Americans (or 30%) living in households with members outside the nuclear family (including chart shown here).

More communities and builders are recognizing these changes by allowing more dense housing and new home trends to support the needs of these extended families.

Home Trends: Seattle Changes Lowrise Zoning

Many cities are concerned about home trends that require new development to be vertical, in the form of high rise apartment buildings. Seattle is taking a different approach by changing low rise zoning regulations to allow more diversity in the types of housing being developed, including how higher density parking requirements are satisfied. Home trends Seattle is focusing on:

  • Diversity of housing types – town homes, row houses, cottages and apartments.
home trends for low rise housing
  • Home design – where at least 20 percent of street facing façades must be windows and doors; a mix of building materials must be used; trees must be kept or replaced; and parking underground or at the back of the lot.
  • Rules changes – allowing low rise height limits to match the height limit for single-family zones; waive parking requirements in growth areas and within .25 mile of frequent transit service; waive density limits and allow flexibility in floor area ratios for certain housing types when good design features are achieved.

Home Trends: Building Multigenerational Homes

When you think about the average new home being built in the US, the emphasis remains on single family homes although more buyers are opting for smaller homes, with more functional features. Home buyers who already know they need 2 homes in 1, are looking for houses that can accommodate their needs the day they move in and builders are responding to this and other home trends.

More than 60 million Americans are living in extended households, so builders are expanding their emphasis on home designs with first floor bedroom suites that provide privacy for a second family, in addition to the baby boomer generation that doesn’t want to climb stairs anymore. Different builders have different approaches to meeting this new requirement as documented by CNBC’s video on multi-generational home trends.

home trends include multi-generational designs with separate home within a homeOne of the builders featured in the video is national builder Lennar, who recently introduced their version of the multi-generational home, called Next Gen – The Home Within a Home®. It’s one of the newest home trends, a house within a house. There’s a separate suite that has its own entrance, eat-in kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room and living room. Some styles also include a separate, one car garage that leads into the unit.

Lennar’s single level home design to the right, shows the shaded home within a home, with access through the attached garage plus 2 additional entrance doors into the living room. There’s also a door off the kitchenette that goes into the main house.

A trade-off being made here is no formal dining room. This reflects the popularity of open living spaces, where homeowners want the visual space you get when opening up the kitchen to the family room (when there’s also a living room) or what’s shown here, a great room (no living room).

Lifestyles are changing and it’s time to let go of traditional home features we no longer use, like dining room when we’re eating out more, and family meals are happening around kitchen islands. We have other home features to let go of too, like bathtubs in master bathrooms and front doors that are great for curb appeal but seldom used.

What new home trends do you like best?



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