The multi-generational household

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The Australian Government’s Intergenerational Report details future demographic and economic changes in Australia. We thought we’d take a look and see how it might provide some insight into some housing matters Australia is expected to face.

The Report states that Australia’s population is projected to change and grow significantly over the next 40 years and the changing size and structure of our population is important as it influences how quickly the economy and incomes grow—and of course the rate at which future living standards will change.

With increased population size comes the potential for the multi-generational household to become a more distinct and accepted living arrangement. Increasing numbers of Australians are living in households where more than one generation of related adults live together. In their article Living Together, UNSW stated at the time of the last Census (2011), one in five Australians lived in a multi-generational household.

In Australia, research into multigenerational households didn’t begin to emerge until the mid-2000s with most people wanting to own rather than rent their properties, and having a high propensity to ‘knock-down’ and rebuild their dwellings. Other cultures such as Italian, Greek and Asian have a significant focus on housing their elderly parents.

Most of early Australian research focused on the observed delay in first home-leaving of young Australian adults, which was found to reflect not only demographic change, but also wider changes to societal norms. Much of this early research also emphasised the financial implications that this delay may have on the parents.

But what does this mean for us? Australia’s changing demographics might mean a need to offer a more diverse choice of housing forms to suit contemporary families and lifestyle choices. At Kalka, we believe the solution might mean offering flexible housing types that can accommodate a number of ‘households’ within the one physical structure.

Forward looking, we are working on home designs that have a second master bedroom upstairs so that the ground floor can be used for older generations. Some of our new designs will also allow for a separate bedroom on the ground floor to accommodate for multi-generational living and the desired private space that often comes with it.