Multi-generational households could be set to grow in popularity
Multi-generational households could be set to grow in popularity as property costs continue to rise. A new report from Aviva suggests that based on the rate of growth seen in the past 10 years – and assuming house prices will continue to rise – there could be 2.2 million people living in multi-family households and 3.8 million 21–34-year olds living with their parents by 2025.
However, rather than being a negative trend, two in three (66%) people currently in this living situation say the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages according to the inaugural ‘Home’ report which focuses on the changing face of UK households.
House prices and multi-living increase together
Average UK house prices rose 52% between 2005 and 2015, up from £184,000 to £279,000.
At the same time, the number of adult ‘children’ living with parents has also grown considerably. In 2015, there were an estimated 2.8 million adults aged 21–34 living with their parents – the equivalent of 23% of people in this age group. This is an increase of 32%, or more than half a million (684,000) people since 2005.
In addition, ONS data on multi-family households** also shows a 46% increase in the number of people living in this type of household between 2005 and 2015, up from 1.1 million to 1.5 million.
Affordability of housing appears to play a huge role in people’s decision to stay living with family or moving back in with them. When asked about situations when they might consider this living arrangement for six months or more, saving for a house deposit (57%) was the second most common reason given, beaten only by caring for an unwell relative (71%).
Multi-generational living provides constant company and cheaper living costs
While two in five (42%) of all UK adults believe living as part of a multi-generational household would be a positive arrangement, this rises to 66% of those already living in this type of household, suggesting there is a gap between people’s perceptions of multi-generational living and the reality.
Those living in a multi-generational household say the main benefits are: other people being around for company (72%), cheaper shared living costs (62%) and more people to share chores (56%). Only 12% of those already in a multi-generational household say the disadvantages outweigh the benefits, compared to 21% of all UK adults.
Multi-generational living is often seen as a necessity rather than a choice, particularly when adults are forced to move back in with family to help save for long-term goals like buying their own house. But rather than being an inconvenience, our report shows it is often a positive experience, with shared living costs reducing financial strain and the added benefit of constant company.
If house prices continue to rise at their current rate, we can expect the number of multi-generational houses to continue to grow. What we need from our properties – and how we go about protecting them – will also adapt as the UK’s way of living evolves.
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Methodology: Based on a nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults aged 16 and over, carried out by Censuswide in April 2016.
* With two or more generations living under the same roof.
** Classed as a household containing two or more families, for example a married couple living with their elderly parents.
 ONS House Price Index, Annual Tables (mix-adjusted prices)
 ONS Young Adults Living with their Parents data (November 2015) 2005 = 2,161,000, 2015 = 2,845,000
 ONS Families and Households data (November 2015). 2005 = 1,050,000, 2015 = 1,537,000