How families can live together … and apart

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18th June 2021

Adult children coming back home calls for greater flexibility

When families grow and evolve, they need to find the best way to live, work and thrive. Ella Homes, who joined the Alexander & Co group back in September 2019 and became an Alexander & Co office in May 2021, is one of the most respected agents in the Buckingham and Winslow area. They join and strengthen our interconnected estate agent offices across south-east England.

Their values and qualities already matched up with many of ours, including a focus on local knowledge and a personal approach that explores and meets customers’ needs at different stages of their lives. In this blog, we look at a trend that more and more families are experiencing.

Family life is changing for many

“It used to be the case that when children left home or went off to further education, parents would become ‘empty nesters’, but many parents are having to get used to the fact their adult children are returning home to live”, Mark Ayres, Branch Manager at Alexander & Co in Winslow explains.

An article in The Guardian from October of last year highlights how this ‘boomerang’ phenomenon of young adults returning to their parents’ home until well into their 20s or early 30s, is now a permanent feature of UK society, and may well lead to different thinking on how families live together.

Data from the National Office for Statistics (ONS) shows about 3.5 million UK adults currently live in their parents’ home, an increase of a third over the past decade. This figure is likely to continue to go up, especially when you factor in the disruption of the past 15 months.

The trend has grown during the Coronavirus pandemic, with universities closing for periods of time, an increase in remote working, and job losses. Adult children are returning home, or having to put off their plans to leave the family home for now.

Exploring the options a new home gives you

These changing circumstances are a common motivator in people looking into new living options and moving home. Mark Ayres explains further: “Many are seeking to upsize so they can accommodate adult children who are living at home and need space and independence. However, it’s not necessarily just about more space: it’s also about flexibility and practicality for the way you and your family want to live.”

Where you’re living right now may not give you enough options. You may not currently have an ‘extra’ building that you can work with, such as an attached or detached garage. You may not want to go through the process of having work done on your current property, like a loft or basement conversion or regular house extension, and all the disruption that comes with it. To make life easier and get exactly what you all want, moving could be the way forward

The flexibility to live differently

So, what are the things that could make modern family living work? Is it about more than an en-suite bathroom? Mark has some answers: “A large loft space that’s already converted is a great starting point and gives everyone a bit more space and privacy. A basement that’s already converted (or has potential to be) can deliver this too”.

There could be a property out there with a garage that can be turned into living space, or a self-contained extension, garden annex or other outbuilding that can be transformed into accommodation. If you can include a small kitchen area in this extra accommodation too, that’s even better.

Whatever the options, whatever the potential, it’s all about making independent, comfortable living possible for every member of the family. It means adult children have their own space to invite friends over without impacting on your living space (or feeling as though they need to ask permission!)

It’s not just adult children: with average life expectancies increasing, there’s also a growing number of older parents moving into their children’s home.

Achieving future family harmony

All this might sound a bit antisocial to some, but it can be important to have your own space, privacy and independence and moving house means you immediately get that extra room to work with.

Whether your children have always lived with you, or they’ve left and come back, there’s a way to live practically and happily together (and apart) in your multigenerational home.

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