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The rise of the multi-generational home

Over the last decade, there has been a substantial increase in the number of multigenerational homes in the UK. Recent research from Aviva shows that there has been a 46 per cent increase in multi-family households, while the number of 21-34 year-olds living with their parents has increased by 32 per cent.

The numbers coincide with a 52 per cent rise in UK house prices from 2005 to 2015 and if the trend continues, there could be some 2.2 million people living in multi-family households and 3.8 million 21-34 year olds living with their parents by 2025.

While multiple families and generations living together under one roof can be fraught with difficulties, many people see the positives in this sort of arrangement. In fact, two-thirds of those surveyed said the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. For example, there's constant company, reduced living costs and more people to share chores. Just 12 per cent of those already in a multigenerational household said they believe the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

Some 57 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to move back in with family for six months or more in order to help save for a deposit - this was the second most common reason given, beaten only by caring for an unwell relative (71 per cent).

Commenting on the research, Lindsey Rix, managing director of personal lines at Aviva UK, explained that multigenerational living is often seen as a necessity rather than a choice. "But rather than being an inconvenience, our report shows it is often a positive experience, with shared living costs reducing financial strain and the added benefit of constant company," she added.

Ms Rix also highlighted how important it is for the housing market, and related services, to follow the trend: "What we need from our properties - and how we go about protecting them - will also adapt as the UK's way of living evolves."

This means that families might want to get in touch with their insurers to let them know whenever situations change. That way they can make sure they continue to have adequate cover for their contents and the building itself.

Meanwhile, landlords and housing developers might also want to consider taking steps to make sure their properties are attractive to multigenerational households:

  • Create an open-plan living area - Most families want open-plan living because it's great for entertaining and makes it easier for everyone to spend time together. It also helps to make the most of limited space.
  • Find space for a ground-floor bedroom - These are ideal for older generations, as means they won't have to go up and down the stairs.
  • Create an accessible bathroom - Similar to the previous point, this makes things easier for residents that have difficulty getting around. Adding a small wetroom on the ground floor will keep these family members from having to go upstairs to use the loo, while the shower will have step-free access. Besides, when there are several people living in a house, more bathrooms are always better.
  • Make the most of the space available - Basement conversions, loft conversions, garden offices and conservatories are all options for increasing the amount of living space in a property.