For both economic and security reasons, households made up of several generations of the same family are on the rise again in South Africa, and estate agents are reporting a marked rise in multi-generation home purchases, with parents and children or parents and grandparents pooling resources to buy a residential property that will accommodate them all.
“There has recently also been a rise in demand for homes with multiple granny flats or separate cottages to accommodate retired parents, newlyweds or working singles in the same family,” says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.
“At the same time, many retirees who already own large properties are now building themselves a retirement cottage on the same stand while one or more of their adult children move into the original family home.”
And similarly, he says, the demand for smallholdings with several dwellings is increasing, as siblings or cousins band together to buy properties that will serve as family “compounds” and enable them to jointly also provide housing for their ageing parents or grandparents.
“This type of ‘hive’ living is however quite distinct from the cocooning that was popular a few years ago, in that it enables members of the family to share living spaces and interact closely when they wish, but also to still live quite independent lives.”
Writing in the latest Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt says the main drivers of this trend are of course declining affordability in the current economic climate, especially for the young and the elderly, as well as concerns over crime and personal security.
“But it has been found that multi-generational housing also delivers many social benefits for the families concerned – and for wider society. For example, retired parents who live on the same property as their children might do it primarily to stay close to their grandchildren – but at the same time may also be relieving the pressure on scarce state housing for the aged”.
“In any case, we expect hiving to continue gain ground in SA, and to see specific home designs begin to emerge to meet the demand.”