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Multi-generational or dual living home trend on the rise

Knight Frank Residential SA’s Hout Bay branch recently sold this five bedroom, four bathroom home at a price of R3 750 000, which will be converted to create a “home within the home” for their parents.

Discussing trends in the property market, there now seems to be a new influx of buyers in a separate category – which many people are calling the “Sandwich Generation” because they have parents and children living in the same home, says Matt Mercer, sales manager at the Knight Frank Residential SA Hout Bay branch.

Several of these families even have “boomerang children” that have come back home to roost after travel and studies or marriage and divorce.

In the last year in Hout Bay, said Mercer, there has been a 35% increase in requests for homes that can be shared by more than one family, and usually of particular interest are homes that have separate “homes within homes” and that can afford each family with some independence and privacy.

Multigenerational homes are a way of life around the world, whereas in South Africa urbanisation over the decades led to smaller homes closer to cities. The trend now, however, is to move out of the city to more rural areas, such as Hout Bay, and combine the family’s financial “forces” for a larger home to share, said Mercer.

Families that have done this say that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, he said.

An example of a home sold recently with the specific purpose of converting to a dual-living home is a three level five bedroom, four bedroom home in Penzance which the new owners will convert to create a home “within the home” for their parents. The property was sold for R3 750 000 within days of listing it.

Pooling resources can help bring down the cost of overall home ownership and also help the younger families to save, assisting the older family by allowing them to spend less of their retirement savings and keeping their standard of living at the level they’re used to. (Many retirees who move into smaller apartments or retirement homes find that the restrictions in space and having to stick to tight retirement budgets create a stressful retirement life.)

Living together builds stronger family bonds, and this is done in many cultures, e.g. Asian, African, Greek, and so on. Families with younger children benefit by having an extra adult hand, even if just for emergencies and the odd night out for the parents, and children also thrive on the additional care a grandparent offers, said Mercer.

An added benefit to multigenerational living, he said, is increased security as there is usually always someone present in the home. With this comes the peace of mind that one can monitor older parents should they become frail and children benefit from spending time at home after school and not in a day care centre. Dual living has become as much a lifestyle solution as it has a financial one, he said.