The pandemic has changed the way we live in many ways, with one trend leaving its mark in homes right across the country.
It’s called multigenerational living, where parents, kids and grandparents live together under one roof – and it’s already impacting how we design new homes. There’s never been more emphasis on flexible living, with bedroom and bathrooms split between levels or zones, demand for private home offices and multiple activity spaces – even kitchenettes.
It’s easy to see why the idea of extended families living together has become more appealing, especially in these times of economic uncertainty. Yet this is not a new idea. In places like southern Europe it’s perfectly normal for extended families to live together. While the events of 2020 have sped the trend up down under, it had already been quietly gaining momentum. About 20 per cent of people who live in Australia live in a ‘multigenerational household’.
There are some amazing benefits for all three generations – here are our top 5.
1. More affordable
It makes good economic sense for families to come together in a multigenerational living arrangement. For a start, couples often go ‘halves’ with their parents when buying a home, bringing the initial outlay right down. Then with the grandparents helping out at home, there’s more opportunity for both parents to have fulltime careers, earning an invaluable double income.
What’s more, you’ll be saving forking out on the cost of childcare. And depending on your arrangement, you’ll share expenses like food, electricity and water collectively. As your kids transition into young adults, a living arrangement that allows them to stay at home for longer will help safeguard them against dwindling job opportunities, which is particularly important to families during the global pandemic.
2. A loving family atmosphere
Of course, it’s not all about finances and logistics. Grandparents are great role models for kids and can help add to the loving atmosphere at home. Whether it’s helping with homework, gardening together in the backyard or simply telling stories, grandparents can have a positive influence and can teach important life lessons from their generation, culture or language. And the emotional support and rewards are returned too. By engaging in daily activities with family members in a multigenerational home, grandparents experience a better quality of life away from the loneliness they may otherwise experience in an empty home disconnected from the rest of their family and community.
3. Get more time up your sleeve
Families are busy these days juggling school, sport and work responsibilities. That often leaves little time for preparing dinners, catching up on your life admin, or even just spending quality time together. With the grandparents living at home you’ll usually have an extra pair of hands to help with the cleaning or cooking, so you can pour more of your energy into the things that really matter. And let’s not forget, date night just got a whole lot easier with a resident babysitter just a door knock away!
4. Get more of what you want
One of the great advantages of multigenerational living is the possibilities it opens up in terms of location and house type. In sharing the expenses of a home, you can often widen your search to more convenient or desirable suburbs close to all the things you want to do outside the home, from work to parks, beach, river and all in between.
5. A full house is a safe house
As busy families, we’re not always at home to keep the place looking lived in and secure. A lock and leave design makes it easier, but with multi-generational living, chances are that your home will be left unoccupied a whole lot less. It also means there’s usually someone around to look out for each other, which is great for those times you have to quickly duck out to the shops, or if a grandparent has a fall.
Choosing your multigeneration home
So, you’re interested in dipping your toes into multigenerational living but aren’t sure what home layout to look for? Pindan makes it easy to select a larger new home in Perth that can grow with you and your family.
The key to look out for is privacy – with kids, parents and grandparents all living under the one roof, areas that can be enjoyed all to yourself become invaluable. You’ll need your own bedroom with access to a bathroom, preferably close to a second living space. Two storey homes are particularly favourable, as they allow for complete separation between the generations within the household.
Here are some of our top choices:
The Heights Kardinya – Type AB
This stylish double storey home at The Heights features four bedrooms and two bathrooms over 264sqm. Set up as a multigenerational home, grandparents may want to occupy the ground floor master suite and ensuite, located at the home’s rear, acting as a sanctuary. That leaves upstairs for the parents and kids who’ll share three bedrooms and a bathroom around a central activity space for playtime and homework.
he Heights Kardinya – Type A
Looking for a home that’s a little easier to maintain? This two storey design at The Heights also features a master suite and ensuite on the ground floor, with a second bedroom and ensuite, third bedroom and activity room on the upper level – a great configuration for families looking for space and privacy separated by a floor.
Botanica Canning Vale – Aster
Boasting four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms over 240sqm, the Aster is a huge home perfect for families wanting to live in close quarters without compromising on space. All bedrooms are grouped on the second level, with a huge master retreat at one end that allows grandparents to enjoy their own sense of privacy.
Is now the time to buy?
The pandemic has changed the way we live in our homes, and multigenerational living is expected to continue its resurgence. Which is good news, as it coincides with some amazing government incentives, available until 31 December 2020, that can save eligible purchasers up to $55,000 on their new purchase.
$25,000 Federal HomeBuilder Package
$20,000 WA Building Bonus
$10,000 First Home Owner Grant