We all know that UK house prices have performed admirably over the last 50 years or so. Many first-time buys are struggling to climb onto the property ladder and some of the older generation are struggling to downsize. As a consequence, multigenerational living seems to be coming more popular in the UK and there is every chance this trend could continue for some time to come.
Calling in the builders
When you look at the current state of the UK housing market it is perhaps no surprise that more and more families are “calling in the builders”. We are seeing attics, basements and garden space used to create self-contained homes within homes. Multigenerational living has created a sub-market for the building sector and one which is proving rather lucrative.
On average UK house prices are now worth around eight times average annual salary against just four times annual salary 20 years ago. This comparison perfectly illustrates the challenges facing many first-time buyers across the UK. Forced to rent property they are effectively spending their “deposit money” for their dream home and with house prices in general creeping higher and higher many first-time buys are running out of time. So, it looks as though living with parents and grandparents in self-contained living spaces could become the norm?
Multigenerational living is popular on the continent
Places such as Norway have a significantly greater number of homes where children, parents and grandparents live as one big family. It is estimated that around 125,000 UK homes a year are converted into multigenerational homes and this figure is likely to grow. On the whole living expenses are cut dramatically, family life is improved and there have even been research notes produced which show that multigenerational living can have significant health benefits. Spreading the stresses and strains of everyday life right across the family, supporting each other and sharing the chores, is something many people will never have experienced – until now!
Drawbacks of multigenerational living
There are some drawbacks when it comes to this relatively new style of living because with families living “on top of each other” this can cause friction and fallouts. Some properties may become a little claustrophobic if certain members of the family invite friends around. We have also seen issues with ownership where for example grandparents may own the property and let their children and grandchildren live there. Unfortunately, consciously or subconsciously, some parties can be made to feel like guests when living in somebody else’s property.
In many ways this is just life in general, some people need space, others prefer company and even the best of friends and family will not get on all of the time. However, it is worth looking at the financial benefits, the improved family time and potential health implications.
Whether a converted attic or basement, perhaps a stand-alone apartment on family land, the idea of multigenerational living is certainly beginning to catch on in the UK. As we touched on above, there are financial, social and potential health benefits and while this particular style of living has been commonplace on the continent it is not something which has caught on in the UK, until now. An estimated 125,000 homes are converted into “multigenerational living quarters” each year in the UK and this number is set to rise.