With the pandemic showing no signs of abating, home buyers are increasingly searching for properties that can accommodate their older family members.
Buyers say they want to keep their aging family members out of senior living facilities, as these are at increased risk of COVID-19 due to the group setting nature of their services and facilities. As such, there is a growing demand for larger homes that can accommodate more people, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The report notes National Association of Realtors data which shows that buyers purchasing a home since the start of the pandemic have been more likely to purchase a multigenerational home - 15% versus 11% - than those who bought a home in previous years. Home buyers gave multiple reasons for this, including taking care of aging parents, and the delayed independence of their children. By purchasing a multigenerational home it’s also possible for some family members to pool their incomes together to buy a larger property.
Meanwhile, occupancy at assisted-living facilities and independent living centers decreased by more than 2.5% in each of the last two quarters since the pandemic, according to data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, the Journal said.
Home builders are increasingly trying to respond to the call for homes that can accommodate multiple generations, such as with two primary owner suites, including one on the main floor. In response to the uptick in demand, Lennar Corp., a homebuilding giant, says it expects to increase its line of Next Gen homes by more than 20% compared with last year, the Journal said. M/I Homes says it has debuted a new floor plan that includes a separate multiroom space on the main floor of the home that can serve as a room for an aging parent or home office.
Builders of accessory dwelling units, which are backyard houses that can serve as separate living quarters, are reporting a rapid rise in business since the pandemic began too.
"We're hearing stories about how people went to visit their family members and couldn't go into the facility and talked to them through the window," Daniel Blumenkrantz, analyst at Urbaneer ADU, a Freehold, N.J.–based company, told the Journal. "We figured there has to be a way around this."
Urbaneer ADU will install an accessory dwelling unit on a property and charge an installation fee, often ranging from $7,500 to $10,000. The customer then pays $2,000 a month for a minimum of five years. The company removes the cottage when it’s no longer needed. On its website, the company says that the cottage plus in-home care is cheaper than assisted living, which likely would be dependent on the person’s health circumstances and location.