Multi-Generational Houses: The New Normal?

Real Estate Agent with Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties 256152
Original content by John Henry, Florida Architect 13013

About two weeks ago I was approached by a local custom builder to revamp an existing house design in plan and elevations in order to offer for sale to a client from Miami.  The client liked the builder's model in a smaller high-end subdivision but needed changes to the plan to accommodate him and his son, both doctors who are moving to Orlando. The facade needed more windows and had to be different from the model house just a few lots down.  The house above is the new elevation and the meeting is actually this afternoon for the builder to seal the deal.

After reading a fine tutorial by Debb and Bernie for a multigenerational house, I realized that this is exactly what I am doing right now. 

In July of last year, I posted information about multi-generational houses and living as was typical in the 'old country'.  If you missed it, please click here to see some more background information and details about one or two of the houses I have designed in the past.


The statistics are surprising: 20% of all Americans are living in multi-generational houses, over 60 million people -- and the rate is rising.  There are a few reasons cited:  marrying late, higher levels of immigration, cost of housing, financially capable Baby Boomers, need for in-house caregivers.

The definition given: 

The U.S. Census Bureau defines multigenerational families as those consisting of more than two generations living under the same roof.

Multi-generational housing design, however, may be a little late catching up to this trend.  The last recession saw a spike in Millennials living at home with parents.  And if many family members and friends are simply living together to share expenses, the result is a crowded situation where privacy concerns cannot be met.  Existing single-family housing is being simply converted to multigenerational use.

Of course, MultiGen living is not a new concept.  In this country and abroad, throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, years ago it was the absolute norm and continues to this day here and overseas.  Grandparents were cared for by their children while the younger generation was tended to by the oldest and the middle generation continued to work and provide for all.

In the U.S. and other first world countries with the rise of adult care and medical facilities outside the home, the bonds between family members has weakened.

Economics is always a prominent reason to consider a MultiGen house, and even good friends can split the costs of ownership and maintenance.  A good contract is important in these cases.

I worked up another video presentation of the multigeneration house concept.  Please see below: 

Are you seeing this type of approach/construction trending in your area and what do you think about the projects that are being built?  How does resale compare to traditional single-family homes?  Are these homes well-received in single-family subdivisions?  Do they need their separate zoning?

I think a two-story house has a better way of offering privacy to two generations, with bedrooms and one living area given over to each, with communal spaces typically on the first floor, but in the link I provided you will see the main Living, Kitchen and Dining area on the second floor.

(From medieval times and before, a tradesperson and family would work on the ground floor and have living areas above.  In the countryside, the living areas were developed above the barn for animals below.)

JOHN HENRY ARCHITECT  Orlando Florida Custom Home Designs

Beautiful European and American classical period luxury homes and plans created by premier residential Architect John Henry has been a passion now for over 30 years.  Inspired by old world archaeology and medieval to Renaissance architecture -- and having lived in Europe and the Middle East-- John Henry is widely known for the romantic and period details that make his work breathe a certain soul and drama. Striving for world-class results, his award-winning work reflects the details and proportions of luxury real estate plans in historical European and American traditional styles. Attention to detail and continuity mean that the architectural interiors should also be integrated properly.

Portfolio of Luxury Homes:

Office on 7491 Conroy Road Orlando, Florida  32835

Tel: 407.421.6647


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Comments (3)

Dan Pittsenbarger
Keller Williams Western Realty - Bellingham, WA
Improving Conditions

Home prices in our area are starting to get into the range that multifgenerational housing is becoming a must for some folks because of the need for combined income and assets reguired to be able to afford the home.

Aug 10, 2019 06:59 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I saw the original and it's an interesting post regarding a growing trend in our country. Love his video too. D 

Aug 10, 2019 07:00 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great choice for a reblog....I missed the original, so I appreciate the reshare!

Oct 11, 2020 07:31 AM