Houston Agent (HA): How has demand for multigenerational homes grown in recent years? And why?
Michael Reamer (MR): According to the Pew Research Center, 57 million Americans, or 18.1 percent of the U.S. population, lived in multi-generational family households in 2012. That’s double the figure from 1980. The same study showed about a quarter of young adults ages 25-34 lived in a multigenerational household in 2012, up from 18.7 percent in 2007. Ironically, the 23.6 percent rate of young adults in multi-generational households surpassed the 22.7 percent rate of adults ages 85 and older.
The reasons? Studies show a Houston family on average will spend over $43,000 per year for a licensed professional to help with cooking, cleaning and running errands. Meanwhile, many young adults strapped with college loans either can’t afford or get credit approved to purchase a home – and skyrocketing apartment rents make it tough for younger adults to get ahead.
HA: What kinds of things are consumers asking for in multi-gen homes?
MR: The families we meet in our Next Gen models tell us they want a home that promotes both privacy and togetherness, one that fosters independence but where help is nearby when needed. They want solutions that accommodate a family’s unique situation – be it an elderly parent or a young adult – without sacrificing comfort. Plus, they want to take advantage of the shared costs that come from two homes under one roof.
HA: Finally, how can agents better position themselves to not only help clients with multi-gen housing needs, but also appeal to prospective clients with those needs?
MR: We help agents understand the unique circumstances surrounding the multi-gen buyer. In some cases, there may be two homes that need to be sold. Other prospects might be exploring the idea of a multi-gen household thinking a decision might come “down the road,” particularly when it involves an elderly parent, when in fact “the decision” often comes sooner than they expect.