A PulteGroup survey shows multigenerational households could double in the foreseeable future, creating a need for homes with more space.

“PulteGroup's Del Webb, Pulte Homes, and Centex communities have seen an increase in multigenerational households during the past several years, and the company's research shows that this trend is expected to grow significantly,” according to the news release announcing the results of the PulteGroup Home Index (PGHI) survey.

The study was conducted online by Russell Research from September 7–10, 2012, among 511 homeowners across the U.S., ages 35 and older, with children between the ages of 16 and 30.  Additionally, the survey was conducted among 550 U.S. homeowners, ages 18 to 65, with living parents.

Among those surveyed with children, 14% currently have a grown child living at home, but 31% said they expected a kid to boomerang home at some point. Among respondents with living parents, 15% currently have an aging parent living with them, but 32% expect to have an elderly parent in their home in the future.

While financial causes are a common reason for families to double-up, those surveyed cited other advantages as well.

“The company found that a high number of households had parents move back in as a deliberate choice to enhance familial relationships and build a better bond among the generations,” PulteGroup said.

The trend offers an opportunity to builders.

“Because a growing number of homeowners are expecting to accommodate a larger family in the future, those surveyed said they plan to adjust their living space by either renovating their existing home or purchasing a new home,” PulteGroup’s news release said. “Seventy-two percent of those with aging parents currently living with them or planning on it in the future will renovate or purchase a new home.”

Just under half of the homeowners with adult children currently living with them or who are planning for them to move back in the future, said they will renovate or buy a new home.
"Adjusting to more family members in your home can be a challenge," said Scott Thomas, national director of product development for PulteGroup.  "Offering flexibility is key, as well as options such as dual master suites to larger great rooms. It's important that homebuilders understand how to best meet the demand of multigenerational households."

Providing separate living space for extended family members was important to 62% of women surveyed and 46% of men. Specifically, they told surveyors that mother-in-law suites, additional bathrooms, and larger great rooms would help.

While nearly half of those surveyed said that family bonding was the best reason for multigenerational living, there didn’t seem to be any illusions that the family would be happily singing Kumbayah together daily. Family bickering was expected, with 40% expecting arguments and disagreements with their elderly parents, and 31% expecting bickering with adult children.

Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.