Could you live in a multi-gen­er­a­tional home?

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Property Guide - - PROPERTY GUIDE - Writ­ten by | realestat­e­

With the ris­ing cost of hous­ing and the chal­lenges faced by many young peo­ple who are try­ing to save for a de­posit while pay­ing rent, a re­turn to the days of multi-gen­er­a­tional liv­ing seems to be a grow­ing trend.

Multi-gen­er­a­tional liv­ing is pretty self­ex­plana­tory – mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions, liv­ing in the same home.

It’s not a par­tic­u­larly shock­ing con­cept in much of the world, though it is rel­a­tively un­heard of in mod­ern Aus­tralia… un­til now.

Shar­ing a prop­erty with will­ing fam­ily mem­bers is one of the surest ways for cash-strapped mil­len­ni­als to save for their own home, but multi-gen­er­a­tional liv­ing is about much more than “fail­ure to launch”. Many Aus­tralian fam­i­lies are now choos­ing to live to­gether for longer, some even mov­ing back in with their par­ents and bring­ing their own off­spring along for the ride, as the cost of liv­ing rises out of step with wage growth.

Some fam­i­lies are able to make this work by shar­ing com­mu­nal ar­eas, like bath­rooms and kitchens, with their re­spec­tive bed­rooms as their pri­vate sanc­tu­ar­ies.

Oth­ers pre­fer a lit­tle more space of their own, and opt for prop­er­ties with sep­a­rate liv­ing ar­eas, or a self-con­tained apart­ment with its own kitchen and bath­room for the oldies down­stairs. Value-adds such as sound­proof­ing and sep­a­rate en­trances can help you keep your most in­ti­mate ac­tiv­i­ties se­cret from your near­est and dear­est – or per­haps, shield your­self from the things they get up to.

Shared bur­dens and shared ben­e­fits

A shared house­hold means shar­ing the bur­den of the big bills, such as coun­cil rates, elec­tric­ity and gas. If you’ve ever ex­am­ined your util­ity bills closely, you’ll know that it’s the sup­ply and con­nec­tion charges that are the real killer, with us­age only mak­ing up a small por­tion of your bill.

While your us­age will of course go up, with more peo­ple plug­ging in their phone charg­ers and show­er­ing each day, pay­ing just one set of con­nec­tion or sup­ply fees will save a bomb for all con­cerned.

Apart from the ob­vi­ous fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits, multi-gen­er­a­tional liv­ing has loads of other pos­i­tives. Grow­ing up in a multi­gen­er­a­tional house­hold can be great for young kids, with Grandma and Grandpa on hand to play with and en­ter­tain them all day, ev­ery day. They’ll learn amaz­ing skills that will come in handy later in life, like how to knit or change a washer – the stuff you al­ways mean to teach them, but never had the time.

It can also be a huge plus for work­ing par­ents, sav­ing on child­care or af­ter­school club, and a babysit­ter is only a room away if mum or dad need to dash out to the shops or an ap­point­ment.

And for the grand­par­ents, not only do they get to ex­pe­ri­ence all those price­less mo­ments with the lit­tle ones, they’ll also have helpers on hand as they en­ter their twi­light years, to as­sist with day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties they might find chal­leng­ing if they were on their own.

Hav­ing re­tirees in the house means some­one is al­ways home to sign for a par­cel or let the plumber in too – no more dash­ing home from work early when the toi­let de­cides to mal­func­tion.

It’s also a win from an en­vi­ron­men­tal per­spec­tive. Even though there are more of you on the premises, you’re un­likely to be dou­bling your en­ergy us­age. Think about it: you were al­ready heat­ing the en­tire house be­fore your par­ents moved in, and they were heat­ing their place, too. Now you’re all toasty warm us­ing half the gas, and can cut down on food waste, too.

There are loads of pos­i­tives to multi­gen­er­a­tional liv­ing, but sadly they are all con­tin­gent on one in­escapable fac­tor… Could you ac­tu­ally stom­ach the thought of liv­ing in the same prop­erty as your par­ents, sib­lings, or Aunty Anne?

If the idea alone fills you with dread, maybe this new hous­ing trend isn’t for you.

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