There is a new type of housing needed to meet the changing needs of extended families.
In previous generations, the 2 or 3 bed family house was the aspiration of most people, it provided a home for a couple to have a family and gave them accommodation for twenty years until the kids grew up and left home. Then Mum and Dad were left to rattle around in their empty nest.
Now things have changed, even if the kids leave home to further their education, they often return because they cannot afford a home of their own. If Mum and Dad are really lucky, the kids may bring home a new family of their own:-) The shortage of housing; the rising cost of property; ever tightening mortgage criteria and the bedroom tax all make moving away from home more difficult.
Then of course there is Granny, who may well have a downsized home of her own, but needs some help and support from her family to stay independent.
According to the National House Building Council, 3.3 million adults aged 20-34 are living with their parents. A further 510,000 people aged 35-64 are also still living at home. There were nearly 400,000 multi-generational homes in the UK in 2011.
The current fragmented housing market is still made up of four basic house types :- family housing for the two generation household; first time buyer one bed houses for couples without children; shared flats for young single people and a pokey retirement home for Granny.
How about pooling the extended family resources to build a sort of “long house” (like native houses used to be in Borneo), one which could provide for three or even four generations? Mum and Dad downsized in their own home, Granny in the Granny flat – a live-in Nanny for the youngest generation; and the grown up kids with their own space which gradually takes over more of the accommodation as their family expands.
Probably a nightmare of family tensions on occasion, but an intergenerational mutual support system most of the time.