Builders design homes for extended families

Homebuilders are responding to changing demographics by offering homes with separate living spaces for in-laws or adult children. Some have a room for the dog.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Dec 7, 2011 5:04PM

Seeking to stand out in a competitive market, builders of new homes are coming up with a new model for today's family: the multigenerational household.

Since 2007, the number of multigenerational households has grown by 10%. Builders are responding with new designs to accommodate two or more generations living under one roof.


Lennar is building its Next Gen home — which it calls a "home within a home" — in Arizona, Maryland, California and Nevada. The home is not quite a duplex but has a unit with a separate entrance that includes a bedroom, bath, living room and kitchenette.


"This is a niche area that appears to be solid and growing," Stephen Melman, director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders, told Bloomberg Businessweek. "It’s a demographic thing."

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Lennar unveiled its Next Gen home this fall. KB Homes and Pulte Group also have models with independent suites, and Toll Brothers offers the option in some homes.

© David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images

"When builders are still fighting for every sale, hitting on something that resonates with your local demographic can make a difference," Megan McGrath, an analyst with MKM Partners, told Bloomberg,


Kevin Barnes bought a new home in Orlando, Fla., with a second master suite for his mother-in-law, who is 71. The arrangement works for all generations, he said. Barnes' mother-in-law can babysit her 3-year-old grandson, and she can count on her son and daughter-in-law to take her shopping.

 “We’re not putting her in a box,” Barnes said. “She likes her independence.”

Builders also are creating spaces to accommodate other important family members: pets. Pulte has models decorated to show a room for the dog.


"We heard from our buyers: We have pets and we consider them a part of the family, and we’d rather have space that’s allocated to the pet, just like we would a bedroom for a child,” Scott Thomas, Pulte’s director of architecture, told Bloomberg.

Jan 27, 2012 8:05PM
I always loved the way people once lived together    It might be nice to be close to family physically  while mankind moves away from real contact by texting and email
Jan 27, 2012 2:44PM
The "Mother-in-Law suite" has returned.....
Jan 27, 2012 2:30PM
The wheel is turning again. Once upon a time a multgenerational home was normal. The new ones are a lot nicer but that's because we as a nation like to build BIG homes.
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