Children, Aging Parents Inspire a Reno Revolution posted on the 6th July 2015

Ipswich Granny Flats, your local Granny Flat Experts, bring to you another interesting snippet :

Shane Rodgers
The Australian
13 June 2015

Children, Aging Parents Inspire a Reno Revolution

Many Australian families are building or adapting homes to house multiple generations as affordability issues, changing expectations and delayed trappings of traditional adulthood reshape the dwelling landscape.

Builders say “baby boomer headquarters” homes are being built with more separated areas, two master bedrooms, and some granny and “Fonzy” flats.

This is in line with research showing there are more “fail to launch” and “boomerang” kids who delay leaving home or return several times.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle, from McCrindle Research, said changing family dynamics meant so-called empty nesting, where kids leave home and their parents live as a couple again, was happening much later than in the past.

Mr McCrindle said many baby boomers (born between World War II and 1960) were in well-equipped, large homes and were financially secure enough to accommodate the trend.

“Many of them don’t want an empty nest and in a lot of ways they are happy to have the kids back home and to be staying active and in touch,” he said.

“Kids also seem generally happy with this arrangement. There is no longer a social stigma associated with living with your parents.”

The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics analysis of children leaving home showed that 47.2 per cent of 20- to 24-year-olds were living with their parents, as were 16.8 per cent of 25- to 29-year-olds and 8.2 per cent of 30- to 34-year-olds.

Across all age groups, 22 per cent had left home and returned at least once and 6.5 per cent had never left home but were independent from their parents in the home.

Master Builders Queensland deputy executive director Paul Bidwell said house designers had evolved standard home plans to accommodate the changing demands. “It used to be about open space, open plan and flexibility,” he said. “Now there is a move towards separation and less open-plan and that’s about accommodating multiple generations — kids for longer, potentially grandparents.’’

Mr Bidwell said most local government areas had removed planning impediments to building granny flats but it was hard to get accurate figures on how many were being built. Similarly there was discussion about the building of “Fonzy flats” (separate flats built over garages, named after the character Fonzy on 1970s television showHappy Days) but these did not seem to be happening in large numbers.

Matthew Bell, the joint managing director of building firm Ausbuild, agreed home buyers were seeking different types of housing options as a response to changed family structures and affordability issues.

“We are certainly getting people who are building bigger homes and wanting to include a granny flat within the design,” he said. “There is also some demand for houses with two master bedrooms, which is both to give parents a self-contained area and make provision for two generations to be living in the same home.”

Ausbuild was one of the building companies involved in an experimental development in the Fitzgibbon area in Brisbane’s northern suburbs, designed to create affordable urban housing close to jobs and transport through innovative design on small blocks.

Written by Sonia Woolley

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