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The Pandemic Leads to Surge in Multigenerational Households

December 28, 2020

The pandemic is accelerating a multigenerational household trend: Family members are bringing their older relatives into their household, young adults are moving back home, and families are pooling their financial resources due to a job loss or as a way to conserve money and accommodate more members of their family.

Housing experts believe the multigenerational trend will last for some time—and may be here to stay.

About 16% of buyers have opted for a multigenerational home since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 11% the previous year, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®.

“One in six home buyers who purchased during the pandemic purchased a multigenerational home,” Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, told realtor.com®. “That’s an increase from 1 in 10.”

NAR’s data shows the most common reason for a multigenerational home this year was to care for and spend more time with older parents, followed by cost savings and ability to pool several incomes.

What’s different about multigenerational homes? They may offer a separate entrance and a private kitchen from the main part of the house, like an accessory dwelling unit. Or homes may have two owner’s suites or be big enough that family members can spread out. Other features may accommodate specific needs.

“In our research, we found two key things to make multigenerational housing work better … separate entrances and separate kitchen facilities,” John Graham, co-author of All in the Family: A Practical Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living, told realtor.com®.

Homebuilders have been responding to the demand for multigenerational buildings in recent years. For the last five years, Lennar Corp. and Toll Brothers have been constructing homes with two separate entries that include separate kitchens and living spaces.

Multigenerational homes tend to be larger, by nearly 22%, according to NAR data. A multigenerational household averages about 2,290 square feet and costs about 10.7% more, coming in at $299,000. For comparison, the typical existing home is about 1,800 square feet and costs $270,000.