Barriers To Multigenerational Living Are Being Torn Down

May 5, 2016

Multigenerational living is growing in popularity. It is becoming increasingly more common to find three generations of a single family living under one roof. The problem is that the homes under those roofs were not designed for multiple generations. As such, many families living in multigenerational situations are making the decision to either move to a different home or create an addition to their current home. But these choices come with hurdles, as well.

For starters, many areas have strict building codes that make building a separate suite difficult. Some places do not allow for separate entrances that can be seen from the street and additional kitchens with full size appliances are off limits too. Additionally, current mortgage lending rules are outdated for multigenerational families looking to buy a home. Both of these issues are in the process of being rectified.

As Zillow reports, a survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting showed 44 percent of people looking to buy a home would like to accommodate elderly parents and 42 percent had plans to house adult children. With such a significant portion expecting to take place in some form of multigenerational living, builders are acting accordingly. At the International Builders’ Show in January, Element Design Build showed off their 5,200 square foot home that had a separate unit on the second floor to accommodate adult children or aging parents.

Pardee homes also showed a house with two guest suites than can be used for adult children, aging parents, or can be rented out on sites like Airbnb to earn some extra income. The suites have separate entrances and their own kitchenettes.

Fannie Mae has also been following the multigenerational living trend closely and introduced the HomeReady mortgage in January. This mortgage is tailored specifically to people in a shared living situation as it lets lenders consider additional income from extended household members or boarders to help the borrower qualify. The HomeReady mortgage lets buyers put as little as 3 percent down, which is big news considering a down payment is at the top of the list with credit scores as the biggest impediment to buying a home.

There does not currently seem to be any signs that multigenerational living is going to slow anytime soon, so the fact that builders and mortgage lenders are taking steps to help families with more than one generation living under the same roof is certainly going to be welcomed by many homebuyers.

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