Home Family & Relationship New Research Shows Majority of UK Adults Would Consider Multi-Generational Living Arrangements

New Research Shows Majority of UK Adults Would Consider Multi-Generational Living Arrangements

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The majority (71.4%) of UK adults would consider a multi-generational living setup, new research has revealed.

According to ONS data, a higher proportion of households were multi-generational in 2021 (2.1%) than 2011 (1.8%), but the proportion of multi-generational households containing one or more carers decreased from 40.3% in 2011 to 35.9% in 2021.

With these figures in mind, modular garden room specialists Make Room Outside commissioned a survey of 1,003 UK respondents (nationally representative) to uncover the UK’s opinions on multi-generational living set-ups, including key driving factors for this living arrangement, important considerations when implementing, and thoughts on specific relationship dynamics.

According to the findings, the most common reasons to consider living with their parents/grandparents included caregiving reasons, relationship breakdowns, and property-related situations.

Reasons to consider living with parents/grandparents

  1.  For caregiving reasons, due to their poor physical health (29.2%)
  2.  After a breakup (20.2%)
  3.  During house renovations (18.1%)
  4.  For caregiving reasons, due to my own poor physical health (16.1%)
  5.  When saving to buy a house (15.6%)
  6.  During the process of moving home (14.9%)
  7.  When leaving university, or other education/training (14.5%)
  8.  During university, or other education/training (14.3%)
  9.  When relocating (14.0%)
  10.  Redundancy (13.6%)
  11.  When trying to get out of debt (10.2%)
  12.  Support system (9.9%)
  13.  For other financial reasons, e.g. cost of living (9.0%)
  14.  High rent prices (8.5%)
  15.  For mental health reasons (7.6%)
  16.  For childcare help (7.5%)
  17.  To combat loneliness (7.0%)
  18.  For company/companionship (6.4%)
  19.  Family bonding (6.3%)
  20.  Perceived lack of social security in future (3.0%)

Respondents were also asked to share scenarios where they’d consider living with their adult children. Again, caregiving reasons came out on top.

Reasons to consider living with adult children included

  1.  For caregiving reasons such as due to my own poor physical health (33.9%)
  2.  After a breakup (16.9%)
  3.  For caregiving reasons e.g. due to their poor physical health (15.2%)
  4.  During house renovations (15.1%)
  5.  During the process of moving home (14.2%)
  6.  For caregiving reasons such as to help care for grandchildren (14.0%)
  7.  When leaving university, or other education/training (13.3%)
  8.  During university or other education/training (11.6%)
  9.  High rent prices (11.5%)
  10.  For mental health reasons (11.1%)
  11.  When trying to get out of debt (11.1%)
  12.  Support system (11.0%)
  13.  For other financial reasons, e.g. cost of living (10.8%)
  14.  When relocating (10.1%)
  15.  To combat loneliness (9.1%)
  16.  When saving to buy a house (8.7%)
  17.  For company companionship (8.4%)
  18.  Family bonding (7.2%)
  19.  Redundancy (6.7%)
  20.  Perceived lack of social security in future (3.4%)

The findings also revealed that people would be most willing and happy to let their adult children (44.5%), mother (33.6%), and grandchildren (27.7%) move into their home in the future.

Ranking of family members preferred for future home sharing

  1. Adult children (44.5%)
  2. Mother (33.6%)
  3. Grandchildren (27.7%)
  4. None (25.1%)
  5. Father (24.2%)
  6. Mother in-law (7.3%)
  7. Grandmother (6.6%)
  8. Father in-law (5.6%)
  9. Grandfather (5.4%)
  10. Grandmother in-law (2.3%)
  11. Grandfather in-law (1.5%)

A quarter (25.1%) of respondents would not be willing or happy to let any of their family members move into their home in the future. Overall, people were more willing and happier for immediate family to move in, compared to in-laws, which may illustrate certain dynamics or strained relationships between these family members.

Top 10 considerations when implementing a multi-generational home

  1. Financial boundaries (39.8%)
  2. Personal time boundaries (37.4%)
  3. Multiple/separate living spaces (36.6%)
  4. Physical boundaries (34.1%)
  5. Equal split of housework and other household tasks (31.2%)
  6. Emotional/mental boundaries (29.3%)
  7. Multiple/separate bathrooms (28.8%)
  8. Privacy during leisure time (26.9%)
  9. Noise control (23.3%)
  10. Agreed daily/weekly routines (20.3%)

Ryan Crossley, director at Make Room Outside, said: “For many of our survey respondents, having privacy and separate spaces (such as multiple living spaces and bathrooms) were important considerations when implementing a multi-generational home. From adding a granny flat to converting an outhouse, constructing a brick-built wing, or opting for a modular annexe, there are many different options to provide additional living space. Plus, each one will also positively impact the value of your home.

“An annexe is an easy way to add both space and value; estimates suggest that a self-contained annex (including a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom) can add up to 20% to the value of your home, although this will depend on the individual factors of the build, such as size and location. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re planning to use your garden room as a full-time living space, then certain planning permission rules apply.

“Current planning regulations state that garden rooms cannot be used for ‘living or sleeping accommodation’, although this does not preclude occasional use for an overnight stay, for example. If you plan to use your garden room as permanent living accommodation, then you’ll need planning permission – talk to your local planning office to declare the proposed use. Consultation with neighbours will also be required, so the entire process will take longer and be subject to different criteria.”

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