Friday, 18 September 2015 11:33

The Return of Multi-Generation Housing

By Eli King for Saratoga TODAY | Business

SARATOGA COUNTY — From Baby Boomers to “Boomerangs,” the multi-generational housing trend is making a comeback, with local and national builders responding to the growing demand for housing the modern family.  

“Two and three generations living separately, sharing lives and expenses under one roof is practical, affordable,” explains Anthony Vaccarielli, who owns Schuyler Builders. He is marketing the multi-generational housing concept in Saratoga County, with lots available in Saratoga Springs, Wilton, Clifton Park and Halfmoon. His spec house, located at 250 Taurus Road in Niskayuna, was designed for multi-generational use and features a 2,100 square-foot, split-design home with 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, hookups for a second kitchenette on the lower level, double covered porches and wheelchair accessibility. 

Multi-generational households occur when two or more generations share a residence - and in many cases household responsibilities and costs as well. The arrangement, which has cycled in and out of popularity in the United States since the mid-nineteenth century, was especially popular among agricultural families, as a way for aging parents to maintain working farms with the help of their children and grandchildren. 

According to the Historical Census Project at the Minnesota Population Center, 70 percent of adults over 65 lived with their children in 1850. But as economic progress continued and steam transportation became more widespread, young people began venturing to cities for work, and the multi-generational trend steadily declined. Its popularity piqued again from the 1920’s - 40’s before trending downwards to less than 15 percent in 1990. 

Historically speaking, the city of Saratoga Springs and its surrounding areas have many natural characteristics to support a resurgence in multi-generational living patterns. As a city in the country, Saratoga’s heritage of “health, history and horses” make it a very attractive residential area - especially among people over the age of 50, who represent a growing demographic in the area. Add to that the fact that Saratoga County consistently has one of the highest growth rates in the northeast, and it is easy to see why builders might be so opportunistic about seeing a multi-generational renaissance in Saratoga’s future.

Today, approximately 18 percent of Americans live in some form of multi-generational housing. Baby Boomers and “Boomerangs” (Millennials who moved back home) are two groups contributing to the recent resurgence of the trend, with co-housing being a mutually beneficial solution for the aging Boomers and financially unstable Boomerangs.   

The idea of young potential homeowners sacrificing independence to live with family can present a marketing challenge for the industry, but the benefits are attractive. Costs of homeownership expenses and utilities can be consolidated and divided in shared living. A higher combined income allows for improved quality of life, and the potential savings on caregiving services are huge. Annual child care costs, according to the Census Bureau are around $7,400 and assisted living an astounding $45,800 per year on average.

Vaccarielli said he has noticed a significant increase in searches for multi-generational style features, such as in-law suites, separate entrances, and wide, open floor plans. Similar features are being offered by national homebuilders like Lennar, who introduced a dedicated brand of “NextGen” homes, featuring a “home within a home” concept for added privacy.

“We build different,” says Vaccarielli. “We’ve designed these homes to encourage family bonding in the 21st century.” 

 

For more information on Schuyler Builders or to schedule a tour of the spec home, visit www.SchuylerBuilders.com.

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