Multigenerational Living


By 2017/18 one in three, private sector new builds had four or more bedrooms showing there is clearly a market for larger homes.

The building of larger homes often causes concern for local communities who believe they will not be affordable for local families. However, delivering larger homes on a new development aids viability and therefore delivers more affordable housing than may otherwise have been possible.

A solution which may aid both the viability of a scheme and local families is to design larger homes in a more flexible way which gives the opportunity for multigenerational households to live together whilst still retaining private spaces.

Currently the UK has lower levels of multigenerational living than many other European countries, but demographic changes have begun to put pressure on this with the number of households that include at least three generations steadily increasing.
Aviva forecast the number of households containing two or more generations will rise from 1.5m to 2.2m by 2025.

The multigenerational house is a model more of us should perhaps be considering. Not only is it more economical for families to live and eat and learn together, but it helps parents cover alarmingly high childcare costs and helps prevent older relatives
from feeling lonely whilst also providing a level of support.

One study has highlighted the value of grandparental childcare to the UK economy as £22bn. The availability of grandparent childcare helps younger generations remain in employment, promotes greater sharing of skills and support and enables people to maintain full pension contributions.

What some might see as a new trend is actually a resurrected old trend, choosing a way of living that best utilises the resources of the extended family, while fostering closeness, not a way to live but a way to thrive.


Research compiled by the NHBC Foundation shows that more than 1.8 million households in Britain contain two or more adult generations, yet most homes on the market continue to be built to a traditional family home layout, without consideration for the shift towards multigenerational living.

The NHBC Foundation report: ‘Multigenerational living – an opportunity for UK house builders?’ outlines the factors behind
the trend using statistical analysis as well as interviews with families. The report finds that the number of multigenerational households in the UK increased by 38% between 2009 and 2014, a rise driven largely by the number of adults aged over
25 who live with their parents. In contrast, the number of multigenerational families with grandparents living with them remained static during this period.

Although some people chose this lifestyle out of financial necessity, the report found that there was a variety of reasons why multigenerational households were popular, including pooling resources to buy a larger property, help with childcare and providing support for older family members. Others enjoyed the social benefit of living with more than one generation of their family.

There is an estimated demand for 125,000 additional multigenerational homes per year in the UK. Nearly 7% of UK households contain two or more adult generations.


One survey highlighted in the report suggested that two thirds of people believed the solution to Britain’s ageing population would be to move towards multigenerational living, and yet only 16% said their current house would be suitable. The report suggests how builders could develop layouts suitable for multigenerational living, with self-contained areas for privacy alongside shared communal space.

Multigenerational living is much more established in other parts of the world, such as the USA, Singapore and Japan. House builders here have developed specific designs aimed at this sector, such the USA firm which markets a “NextGen” home with the slogan, “For the family you’re raising and the family that raised you”.

NHBC Head of Research and Innovation Neil Smith said, “Multigenerational living offers a range of opportunities to house builders, from the targeting of suitable existing home designs to this market, to designing new homes with flexible layouts to suit different household compositions throughout a lifetime.” He added,

Multigenerational living is recognised in other countries as a contributor to improved wellbeing and the more efficient use of housing stock. This report will help us to recognise these benefits as we strive to deliver a modern and relevant house-building programme within the UK.”


  • Trend towards multigenerational living: In the UK approximately 125,000 families per year are adopting a multigenerational lifestyle: a significant potential opportunity for UK house builders.
  • Social benefits: Though not everyone’s choice, families that chose a multigenerational lifestyle recognised social advantages including having more family time together, social contact and support for younger and older family members in particular.
  • Opportunities for government: Multigenerational homes potentially contribute to more efficient use of housing and could play a part in addressing some of the immediate social and health challenges faced by the nation.

House types:

Providing homes suitable for multigenerational living with self-contained areas for privacy alongside shared communal space. Multiple reception rooms allowing flexibility to redesign the home to meet the needs of the family you are raising and the family that raised you.

Key features:

Adaptable design to suit the family needs, incorporating many lifetime homes features such as wider doorways, level access and provision for a stair lift.