Demand for multigenerational housing shows no signs of abating. Builders in the West were first out of the gate with targeted designs, but the rest of the country is catching up.
In 2011, with the housing market still in a slump, Lennar Corp. introduced its NextGen line of homes to multigenerational buyers in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Over the next two years, Lennar expanded the NextGen brand to 130 communities across the United States and in such diverse markets as Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Texas. To date, Lennar has sold 1,100 NextGen homes.
Maracay Homes offers the Generation Suite in the Saguaro plan at Lumiere Garden at Eastmark in Mesa, Ariz. The suite includes a combined living room/bedroom, a full bath, and a walk-in closet. A kitchenette and stacked washer/dryer are additional options. The 4,152-square-foot home starts at $379,000.
More than a first-floor master
The Ironwood plan at Montelena, a Maracay Homes community in Queen Creek, Ariz., has an optional Generation Suite with a separate living room and bedroom and a private entrance from the courtyard. The 3,844-square-foot home starts at $390,000.
The New Home Co.’s newest community, Villa Metro in Santa Clarita, Calif., includes plans with guest suites that are ideal for multigenerational households as well as family members who visit for extended periods of time. The suite in Terra Plan 2 has a kitchenette and sitting/dining area. Villa Metro homes are priced in the $400,000s.
The upstairs master suite and downstairs bedroom suite of Plan 2 at Terra, a 1,605-square-foot home, make the house suitable for both multigenerational households and roommates who buy a home together.
The Generation Suite
NextGen by the NumbersMost single-family homes built for multigenerational living aren’t that much bigger than their conventional counterparts. They’re just configured differently (and often more efficiently). “We just kind of rearranged the rooms a little bit,” says Jeff Roos about Lennar Corp.’s NextGen homes.Roos, president of Lennar’s West Region, says there are some additional costs involved with NextGen, such as the kitchenette and the external entrance in the lock-off suite; therefore, the homes sell for roughly 10 percent more than comparably sized homes lacking the lock-off suite. For example, a 2,500-square-foot NextGen home might sell for $275,000, while a conventional 2,500-square-foot home might sell for $250,000.“Take that $25,000 premium and break it down on a typical mortgage, and let’s say the monthly mortgage payment for the NextGen home is $120 more,” Roos says. “If you compare that to the rent for a separate apartment or a nursing home or assisted-living facility, [the NextGen] home is a huge benefit.”
Generations pool their resources
What Research RevealsThe New Home Company (TNHC) of Irvine, Calif., constantly surveys its customers—past, current, and future. “As the economy changes and we see if this multigenerational notion is here to stay or not, we have to be pretty nimble,” says Joan Marcus-Colvin, senior vice president of sales, marketing, and design.In a recent focus group, Marcus-Colvin spoke with residents of Lambert Ranch who had been in their homes for a year. “Lambert homeowners all have parents and siblings that visit and stay for extended periods of time,” she says. “They said that the older generation prefers to stay in the main house [as opposed to a detached guest house]. In the Asian culture, particularly, where age comes with honor, you abide by that generation’s wishes.”Conversely, couples with children in college find that the guest house is more suitable for the kids when they’re home for holidays or breaks.TNHC will soon introduce first-floor living suites with direct access to one-car garages, to give the owner a greater feeling of security. “We hope to build those plans in 2014,” Marcus-Colvin says.
Designing for the Asian market
Plan 3 is the best-selling plan at La Cresta at Woodbury in Irvine, Calif., a Brookfield Homes community. The 4,098-square-foot-home starts at $1.5 million and includes a guest suite with a separate entrance.
Floor plan trumps location
The guest suite of Plan 3 at La Cresta at Woodbury is well appointed with a 14-by-12-foot bedroom, a dining area, full bath, kitchenette, and private outdoor patio.