A strong trend in the home building industry is the multigenerational household. Family households consisting of three or more generations have become increasingly common in recent years. About 4.4 million homes in the U. S. had three or more generations living under the same roof in 2010, a 15 percent increase compared with multigenerational households in 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents 5.6 percent of the total 76.4 million U.S. households with more than one person.
There are several reasons for this trend. The recession caused many adult children to return home after college, either because they weren’t able to secure jobs that would cover rent, or, they wanted to save enough money to purchase a home of their own. The share of the U.S. population age 18 to 31 living in parents’ homes increased to 36 percent, or a record 21.6 million young adults, in 2012, according to research by the Pew Institute.
Another reason for the trend is that multiple generations of a family living together is a common cultural custom for many ethnic and immigrant groups.
Also, multigenerational households form so that grandparents can help take care of their grandchildren, and as they age, their children can care for them. This arrangement can ease financial burdens as well, with several generations contributing to the mortgage payment and not having to incur the expenses of childcare, retirement housing or professional care-giving environments.
Homebuilders and remodelers are building and renovating homes to meet the needs of multigenerational households. These designs allow several generations of a family to live together under one roof, yet have private areas as well as combined living space.
Features of multigenerational home plans can include in-law suites within the main home with separate areas for independent living. These often have kitchenettes and their own baths, and sometimes, private entrances. Frequently, they include “universal design” products, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include walk-in showers, smooth floor transitions and cabinets with pull-out shelving.
There are several homebuilders in Las Vegas offering multigenerational homes. At Pardee Homes, we created the GenSmart Suite with these families in mind. The suites have a private entrance, separate living, sleeping and eating areas, as well as possible options for laundry or kitchenette spaces, depending on the floor plan. Family members can enjoy the benefits of sharing space and time together, but the suite makes it easy for everyone to “go home” in the same house.
On another note, this is my final column as this year’s president of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association. I’m passing the gavel to a very capable local homebuilder, Rob McGibney, the Las Vegas division president of KB Home, who takes over as the association’s president on Jan. 1. I wish him the best.
Send your questions or comments about new homes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Rocky Cochran, vice president of construction operations at Pardee Homes, is the 2013 president of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, the largest and oldest trade organization representing the residential construction industry in Nevada. He is a third-generation homebuilder.