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The Increasing Popularity of the Multigenerational Home


Large estate for sale in Motecito, CA, perfect for multigenerational living

The annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that COVID-19 is shifting the housing market as homebuyers seek larger estates for multigenerational living. The report shows that since the beginning of the pandemic, buyers were 15% more likely to purchase a multigenerational home, like my Premier Mediterranean-style Ennisbrook Estate pictured above, compared to 11% who bought before April.

READ: Buying a Santa Barbara Home During a Pandemic

“The coronavirus, without a doubt, led home buyers to reassess their housing situations and even reconsider home sizes and destinations,” Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR, said in the report. “Buyers sought housing with more rooms, more square footage and more yard space, as they may have desired a home office or home gym,” she added. “They also shopped for larger homes because extra space would allow households to better accommodate older adult relatives or young adults that are now living within the residence.”

What is a Multigenerational Home?

The U.S Census Bureau defines a multigenerational home as a household that consists of more than two adult generations living under the same roof or grandparents living with grandchildren under the age of 25. Put simply, these homes exist somewhere between a single-family home and a multi-family building.

READ: Moving to a New Home: 6 Considerations for Families

Multigenerational homes allow families, either close relatives or extended family, equal space to live harmoniously under one roof. The distinct architectural design and open floor plan concept complement multigenerational living as it provides a more versatile space where grandparents can spend time with grandchildren in the family room as parents prep for dinner close by in the kitchen.

An epic living room space, perfect for living with a large family
Communal public spaces such as the living room bring loved ones together, whereas private suites offer secluded privacy whenever needed. Connecting doors from suites to the main home provides safety, especially as elderly loved ones advance in age. They also provide convenience for daily engagement between all family members.

This master suite includes a sitting room, perfect for multigenerational living

Multigenerational suites go beyond a sleeping room with a private bath by including a public space separate from the main areas of the house, such as a sitting room, separate entrance, and possibly even a kitchenette to enhance the independence of all family members sharing a home.

Benefits of Multi-Family Homes

There are endless benefits of living in a multigenerational home. From sharing expenses to sharing chores, and everything in between, this lifestyle is both functional and engaging for many Americans looking to live in a space that is as flexible as they are.

While most families come together on special occasions, multigenerational families have the luxury of seeing each other every day. By living under one roof, family members develop a high level of attachment and closeness to one another. Here’s how:

  • Grandparents serve as role models for their grandchildren through daily interactions, while grandchildren learn to respect and connect with their elders.
  • Grandparents feel more engaged and useful when they can provide help to their children and grandchildren, whether that’s through giving life advice or merely helping a grandchild with homework.
  • Many studies have supported the notion that grandparents regularly have a profound influence on their grandchildren by ushering in a loving atmosphere along with showing what a healthy relationship looks and feels like.
  • Loneliness is a common social problem for the elderly. The emptiness of their home weighs heavily on them, which can result in making them feel disconnected from the rest of their family and community. Through daily activities with family members in a multigenerational home, grandparents can experience a better quality of life.

Other Findings of the NAR Latest Report

The rise of the multigeneration home is not the only trend uncovered in the report. The NAR report also shows that 97% of buyers are doing their home shopping online. In fact, searching for a new home sweet home online has reached an all-time high. The portion of buyers who purchased a home without physically seeing it in-person rose to 5% after March, compared to 3% of buyers who shopped prior to the pandemic. Meanwhile, buyers are spending less time shopping, with the time spent looking for a home dropping to eight weeks, the lowest search time recorded since 2007.

“Some buyers purchased their homes before ever physically seeing them in person,” the NAR’s Lautz said. “They researched, viewed photos online and did virtual tours from their computers and phones, and ultimately made an offer through their agent.”

Today’s sellers are eager to get out of their old home, and are happy to accelerate their transactions, making this trend a real win-win. One of the main reasons they’re looking to move themselves is to find something bigger, which will better meet their quarantine needs. Of those who sold in April or later, 18% were more likely to sell because their home was too small, compared to 13% of those before April.

READ: The Santa Barbara Luxury Real Estate Market is Booming

Another finding in the report: Buyers are increasingly relocating to the suburbs and are more likely to spend more on their new home. Pre-pandemic, 50% of buyers searched in a suburban area. Now that number has reached 57% of buyers looking to move where they can enjoy more space for the entire family: from young children to grandparents. Bottom of Form

If you’re a home buyer or seller seeking more space inside and out to accommodate your multigenerational family in any of Santa Barbara’s amazing communities, give me a call at (805) 886-9378, or email me at With our low, low-interest rates, now is the perfect time to make a move.


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