At iHus, we’re thrilled to have been featured in The Observer, for the ways in which our annexes are aiding multigenerational living in the UK.
With multigenerational living on the rise, solutions like annexes are helping families to avoid hefty rent costs or save for deposits, while still retaining their independence and quality of life. At the same time, they also get to enjoy all of the benefits that come with being closer to their loved ones.
The Observer’s article explores the growing trend of multigenerational living and the factors that are making it so popular. The piece also includes an interview with one of iHus’ clients, who shares their family’s arrangements and experiences of annexe living.
The story is part of an ongoing series about parenting, and how family dynamics and relationships are set to evolve over the decade.
You can find the interview and full Observer article here.
What is multigenerational living, and how many UK households are multigenerational?
Multigenerational living is the term used when adults of different generations, from the same family, live together in the same property.
This can include grown-up children living with their parents, aunts and uncles or other older relatives; older parents who have moved in with their children or grandchildren; or a wide range of other combinations and arrangements for multigenerational living.
Multigenerational living can either involve all adults living under the one roof, or an annexe being added to the existing property. With an annexe, multiple residents can share the same property, but each generation gets access to their own private bedroom, bathroom, living area and kitchen (depending on the size and layout of the annexe).
According to recent studies, a third of UK households can be classed as multi-generational (which equates to over 9 million homes). What’s more, it is predicted that this figure will rise further, in the next few years.
The Aviva How We Live Report, released in 2020, revealed that older relatives currently represent 14% of multigenerational living arrangements in the UK. This has risen significantly in recent years, as this figure was just 9% when Aviva conducted the same study in 2016.
As is largely to be expected (due to the rapidly rising house prices), London is the area of the UK where annexes are most popular, with 1 in 5 homeowners in the area stating that they have either built or are planning to build an annexe.
However, the main contributor to this figure is adult children who are living with parents. Around a quarter of annexes have been made for adult children.
Again, this figure is also set to rise over the next few years. As house prices skyrocket, adult children are generally choosing to live with their parents for longer. Or, many adults are deciding to return back to their family home after they have completed their university degree or higher education.
What are the benefits of multigenerational living?
Naturally, one of the first benefits that come to mind is the cost savings of multigenerational living.
Across the country, first-time buyers are facing dramatic increases in the cost of both house ownership and renting.
According to research conducted by Experian, 41% of young adults who are living at their family home say that they can’t afford their own place.
It’s hardly surprising that this is the case for so many as the cost of renting a one-bedroom house is equivalent to around half the wage of an average under-30 year old.
Similarly, in terms of buying a property, first-time buyers usually have to save 133% of their annual salary for a property deposit.
So, if multigenerational living is an option, this allows young adults to not only bystep exorbitant rent costs, but start to save towards that all-important deposit, too.
For elderly people, cost savings are another critical point to consider. Although they can represent a higher initial investment, paying for the addition of an annexe will, over time, often be far cheaper than the ongoing cost of care homes or live-in carers.
Furthermore, multigenerational living also gives elderly people immediate access to any support and assistance that they may need, without requiring them to sacrifice their ability to live independently. As a result, the arrangement presents a great option for elderly people who only need a low level of care, or who would only need assistance with a small number of tasks.
Or, for young people who are looking to build their financial independence and security, multigenerational living can facilitate the opportunity for them to invest in their own further training and education. This arrangement allows them to pursue their studies, without having to balance their time with earning enough for rent or mortgage payments.
Finally, but most importantly, multigenerational living can help to strengthen family bonds, and prevent loneliness. Particularly amongst older generations, loneliness is having a major impact on the wellbeing of isolated individuals across the country.
Equally, in Experian’s survey of young people living with their families, 15% of respondents said that they are living with their family simply because they want to.
To check out our full feature in The Observer, you can read the story here.
If you’d like to find out more about our range of annexes, or speak to an annexe specialist about the best options for your family, don’t hesitate to get in touch.