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The more, the merrier: Multigenerational living in Australia


Multigenerational living arrangements — where several generations of a family live under the one roof — have been popular in countries around the world for millennia. It’s only in recent times that the lifestyle has been gaining traction among Aussie households.

In 2019, Metricon built more than 5,000 homes across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. Of those, at least 30 per cent were for Australian families needing to accommodate intergenerational households, including grandparents, parents and grandkids.

Due to a combination of housing affordability and changing family values, demand for this way of living has risen significantly over the last five years. As the classic Australian TV drama Packed to the Rafters will affirm, it’s becoming more and more common for children to stay in their family home for longer, and for people to want elderly family members living at home rather than in an aged care facility.

Much of Australia’s migrant population also embraces multigenerational households, which are often the norm in their country of origin.

This type of living arranges helps to alleviate financial pressure given there are additional adults in the home, you have more people to help with childcare, share the load of cooking or shopping, and sometimes it allows people to afford a larger or upgraded home if they’re pooling resources.

Of course, it’s not all about the bottom line either. Another reason for the growth in popularity is our desire to keep our loved ones close in today’s busy world.

Certain designs have two master bedrooms — one at each end of the home — both with their own ensuite.

Designing homes for multigenerational families

So, what exactly does it take to accommodate multiple generations on one property?

These days, about 70 per cent of Metricon’s home designs can be tailored to suit this popular way of life, so it’s safe to say we have a decent idea of what big families need.

One of the major concerns people have about multigenerational homes is living on top of each other, however that’s not the case at all.

Metricon’s designers take space, privacy and amenities into consideration when designing our homes. Our most popular multigenerational homes are those where most bedrooms, if not all, have their own ensuite and several distinct living areas.

Opt for homes with multiple living areas so everyone has a space to call their own.

Features of a multigenerational home

  • Multiple living and sitting areas
  • Dual ovens and butler’s pantries
  • Plenty of bathrooms, and ensuites for all adult bedrooms
  • Multiple master suites
  • Ground floor rooms for older family members
  • DualOcc properties (side by side or at rear dwellings)
  • Nooks and quiet corners to read or study

The most common mistake that people tend to make when building a multigenerational home is not allocating enough space for everyone who will be living there, and not allowing for further growth of the family.

Before building a new multigenerational home, it is important to consider which option is right for you. Whether it’s one big family home or a duplex design, there are plenty of options available across our Freedom, Designer, Signature and DualOcc ranges.

Single-storey homes such as the Langdon 32 have two master suites, one opposite a living space, making it easy to segment or make private from the rest of the home. Double-storey homes like the Glendale and the Savannah have up to four living spaces so that there’s room for everyone to retreat and relax.

Dual Occupancy homes are also a great option for people looking for multigenerational living with the autonomy of private residences.

Choosing dual occupancy allows you to stay close to your family without sharing the same spaces.

And for those homeowners who shudder at the idea of living with their parents once again, it can never hurt to at least factor your extended family into your new home.

You never know how circumstances might change, and having family move in with you is a great way to cater for unexpected situations. Even if you simply opt for an additional bedroom or ensure that there are enough bathrooms for growth – you don’t have to change your plans completely.

The Langdon 32 in Werribee, Victoria – an example of a multi-generational home with two master bedrooms.

Three golden rules of multigenerational homes:

  1. Ensure there is a main bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor, so elderly family members do not have to travel up and down the stairs.

  2. Build a home with at least two living spaces. That way, you aren’t living on top of each other in the one living space, and there’s less fighting over the television!

  3. You don’t necessarily have to be in the same home – you can opt for a dual occupancy home so that you’re on the same land but still have your own space, garage and front door.

Metricon builds homes in Australian cities Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, and in regional hubs across VIC, NSW, QLD and SA.