Multigenerational Home Buying Gaining Momemtum

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Make room for Mom.

A growing number of home buyers are looking for extra space to accommodate multiple generations of family, according to a recent Coldwell Banker survey of real estate agents.

Almost 40 percent of the agents who responded noted an increase in home buyers looking to purchase homes to accommodate more than one generation of their family. Nearly 70 percent of the agents surveyed said multigenerational buying is only likely to get hotter in 2010 given the economic landscape.

The grim financial environment is the main driving force behind the new attention on garage apartments and mother-in-law suites. But health care (29 percent) and those good old family ties (6 percent) were also cited as factors, according to the survey.

“While saving money is certainly an incentive for buying a home that accommodates multiple generations, the benefits go beyond just financial reasons,” Diann Patton, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Consumer Specialist, said in a news release. “With two or three generations living under one roof, families often experience more flexible schedules, quality time with one another and can better juggle childcare and eldercare.”

Real estate professionals have a burgeoning opportunity to seize on this expanding niche and highlight properties with these kinds of offerings. Any home with bonus space could be a candidate for a multigenerational buyer who’s planning to bring an ill or out-of-work family member back into the fold.


About Author

Chris Birk writes about government loans, real estate marketing and industry trends for VA Mortgage, the nation’s No. 1 dedicated VA lender.


  1. There are many variables which can be contributing to this multi-generational trend. I would say the tough economic times (causing ‘children’ to move back home with the parents, or for ‘children’ to take in their parents), and a new influx of immigrants (for whom respect of the elder and family values are more prominent) can have helped this effect. Good post.

  2. @Mariah: I think you’re certainly right about the impact of the economy. Your second point is an interesting idea and one that I didn’t consider. Definitely makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the comment.

    @Kathleen: Nice article. Enjoyed the read.

  3. While this makes a lot of sense now it might cause problems in the future. When elderly relatives can no longer be cared for at home and must be put in residential care it has often been the case that the relative’s property is sold to cover the costs. If they now live with the family then this is no longer an option and so families will have to find another way to finance the care since selling their own home may not be an option unless they can downsize and release funds this way.

  4. One of my best friends did this. She and her husband bought a huge house with her parents and her brother and sister in law and they all live together quite happily!

  5. Hey Chris,

    Thanks for sharing this blog post. With 80 million Baby Boomers phasing into retirement and record home foreclosures, I am not that surprised by the increase of multi-generational home purchase. It must also do quite a bit to offset eldecare and childcare costs. It might make it easier to get in-home care for all as well.

    Keep up the great articles,

  6. @Bill: Thanks for the kind words. I think you’re right that it’s not entirely surprising given the economic circumstances. But I was a bit shocked that almost half the respondents noted the trend. It’s tough to tell exactly how it’s playing out on the ground. Definitely a trend worth watching as the months go by.

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