Multi-Generational Housing: A Growing Need for a Growing Segment

Jon Vaughan

A woman and child are at a kitchen sink. The woman is wearing a blue shirt and dark pants, washing her hands next to a boy wearing a red and white shirt, who is also washing his hands.

The housing market has been unpredictable, but there’s one trend we’ve seen more of in recent years — multi-generational housing.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was quite common to hear about multiple generations living in one home. The option of having more space — even if you’re sharing it — is attractive to families and homeowners. So we’re exploring this growing group of homeowners and what builders should know about them.

Why More Families Move In Together

Research indicates that more families than ever are moving in together, and those numbers are expected to grow in the coming years. “The new paradigm may be here to stay,” reports Jessica Lautz with the National Association of Realtors.”

This trend is so significant that it has made an impact in a few different consumer markets, including senior living. More than 400 nursing homes were expected to close in 2022 based on industry reports. The pandemic certainly helped spark this trend when more families decided to isolate together and bring their older relatives back home.

Already common in other cultures around the globe, Americans learned there are other benefits to living with more adults. Sharing household costs or childcare responsibilities is a practical solution for many families today—- especially if they were hit hard during the pandemic. Living with loved ones is often the easiest way for homeowners to obtain financial support and strengthen their family relationships.

“Overall poverty is lower in multi-generational homes (10% of those who live in them are poor) compared with other types of households (12%), according to census data,” reports Pew Research.

The price of rent has skyrocketed across the country, and inflation has made making a living harder for many Americans. It’s easy to see why this option of more space, shared costs and greater support is so attractive right now.

What Does the Multi-Generational Home Look Like?

Obviously living with other people comes with some challenges. Of the adults surveyed, “40% say it is stressful some of the time,” according to Pew Research.

Multi-generational designs make these living arrangements a little more comfortable. “These kinds of communal living arrangements are now becoming increasingly popular both abroad and here at home,” writes Jennifer Hahn for Dezeen. “This has prompted architects and designers to devise clever ways to divide up interiors, balancing the need for both private and communal spaces by using everything from staircases to moving partitions and planted terraces.”

There are a few other trends and products that we’re seeing in multi-generational homes to make these spaces more family-friendly, more accessible and more functional in their aesthetic.

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Accessibility:

It’s important to ensure the home is comfortable for everyone living there. That might mean designing wider doorways and hallways around the home if anyone in the family uses a wheelchair. Builders might need to upgrade appliances, windows and doors so that they operate more easily. Combined with other design considerations like aging in place, accessibility is a vital component in new home design.

Indoor comfort:

Builders and designers will want to keep the family’s health in mind and include ways to prioritize a family’s well-being. Good indoor air quality, ample daylight, sufficient insulation, high-performing products and generous outdoor accessibility are just a few ways to ensure a family’s health and comfort.

Multi-functional space:

“Many people today not only live in their homes but also work, play, and entertain in them too,” writes Sarita Harbour for Bob Vila. Build rooms with additional storage and give homeowners options for using the rooms in a few different ways. That means being flexible about how the space is used. An office might need to function as a yoga studio or guest room on occasion, so designing rooms with multiple uses in mind will support busy families and their lifestyles.

Keeping these ideas in mind can help builders who want to work with this growing segment of homeowners. There are some other ways they can reach this ever-increasing market.

How Builders Can Reach Today’s Homeowners

Today’s builders have to stay on top of a lot of challenges, but connecting with your customer can actually be straightforward.

We’ve talked before about how to market to homeowners and win them over as customers, but here are a few other strategies to keep in mind with the multi-generational housing market.

  • Show off your previous projects so customers can look at your portfolio. If you’ve built larger homes or other multi-generational homes, post them on social media and blog posts, and include a gallery on your website.

PRO-TIP: Keep search engines in mind, and optimize your site’s keywords and alt text so that local customers can find you more easily.

  • Offer your customers options. Keep different floor plans available on your website to show potential clients. Be sure you’re able to address remodeling single-family residences into multi-generational house designs if families want to upgrade their homes.
  • Ask questions and target your audience to learn more about what they’re looking for. Use social media or targeted Google and social ad campaigns to reach more people online and to find out what homeowners today want from their multi-generational home designs.
An Instagram post from Brand Vaughan Lumber featuring a modern home with windows from Sierra Pacific Windows.

Paired with the right strategy —- websites, blogs and social media accounts are a great way to show off the projects you’ve built and will bring you closer to your customer online.

Preparing for Future Projects

No matter what the economy might bring or what trends we see, our team at Brand Vaughan Lumber is proud to support multi-generational home builders with their projects.

We work closely with our clients to ensure they get the design they’re after. From framing and outdoor spaces to windows and doors, we carry a full menu of building materials to help you get the job done.

It’s more important than ever for builders and contractors to stay on top of projects and what customers (and their families) are looking for. Brand Vaughan helps builders ensure the right materials and products are available, so they’re able to build homes that generations of families will love.

Want to learn more about our offerings? Contact us today — we’d love to chat with you.