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What is multi-generational housing?

As the name suggests – it’s a number of family members living in the one dwelling … and according to Dr Edgar Liu from the University of New South Wales, one in five Australians are now choosing to connect and cohabitate in a multi-generational household.

We already know, younger Australians are taking their time to leave the family nest, largely due to the high cost of living, as well as the inflated rental and real estate markets.

But did you know, Baby Boomers are now setting family-tie trends of their own, moving back in with their adult children? It’s a growing statistic according to Dr Liu, with the over 65’s proving the fastest growing age group when it comes to multi-generational living.

While there are a number of options available for older Australians wishing to live independently for example –

  • Their own home
  • Retirement Villages
  • Over 50’s Life style communities
  • Granny Flats
  • Mobile homes, and/or
  • Manufactured Homes

The trend for baby boomers to consider multi-generational living with their adult children is not surprising, particularly when one of the partners may have passed on.

Some of the reasons for this lifestyle choice might be –

  • Security
  • Closer to grandchildren
  • Assistance with health needs
  • Economic considerations
  • Transport
  • Companionship, and
  • Continued independence (when appropriate)

From my experience, there is a great need for those considering co-habitation with their family, to have a clear and precise set of rules to allow both families to live as independently as they would like, but also provide the opportunity to form one large family at appropriate times.

An example might be simply – having separate fronts doors, or grandchildren knocking before entering Grandma’s or Grandpa’s “HOME”.

Granny flat accommodation is becoming a very popular form of accommodation for the elderly, and although there has only been a modest increase in actual sales of 10%, according to Builder Summit Homes, there has been an increase in enquiry of 54%.

This topic was covered in one of our previous blogs, but again we would offer the following as a precaution to those considering this form of living.

FIRST - It is advisable to have a “formal” Granny Flat Right Agreement drawn up by your legal representative to protect both parties, (you and other family members); and

SECONDLY - Before funds/property are transferred to another family member, please seek advice to see whether you are contravening the gifting or deprivation rules.

This is extremely important if the family member providing the funds/property, is reliant on some form of Government payment e.g. Age Pension.

I am aware within my own circle of friends; the talk often drifts to “multi-mates’ households” as an alternative form of accommodation in their later years. A purpose-built home, that might accommodate a number of couples or singles (well known to each other), living independently, with care requirements and general living requirements met by external paid providers.

Baby Boomers are helping to change the accommodation landscape both for Independent living and Residential Aged Care, and this trend will continue as the tsunami of over 65’s, move to one or the other forms of accommodation.

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