Apr 26, 2017
Michael Matusik

I keep on reading about falling household sizes.  More and more of us, apparently, are living alone.  True, many of us might be lonely but living solo.   I wonder.

So we have done some work and found out that a lot of us actually live in increasingly crowded, not empty houses.

See, I am a simple man.  I only really trust what I can see with my own eyes.  Both are biased, but there you have it.  And what I see is a hell of a lot more cars in most driveways.  Organising an evening out involves serious calendar and/or housemate consultation.  More so than not, adult children are back living at home with my friends or neighbours.  See, I am old, too.

In short, more people are living under the same roof.

Did you know that one in five Australian residents lives in a multi-generational household?  This equates to five million residents.  The number of people living in multi-gen housing has increased substantially over the past 25 years.

When looking at the Brisbane region, some 460,000 residents – again, around 20% of the local population – live in multi-gen homes.  There are 128,000 multi-gen households in Brisbane and 1.375 million multi-gen homes across the country.

For the record: A multi-generation household is any household where multiple generations of related adults co-reside in the same dwelling.  The age of at least one of the youngest generation must be 18 years or older.  Our work excludes those households which house the second or third generation in a separate dwelling (such as a granny flat), on the same residential allotment.  For this study, the multi-gen family must live in the same dwelling.

The underlying demand for multi-generational housing is not only high but rising.

The reasons why are many and include:  high debt levels, declining housing affordability, workforce and general economic restructuring, ageing and changing demographics, rising living costs (including childcare), plus fewer fiscal government incentives.

Very little of Australia’s current housing stock successfully caters for this market segment.

Our work suggests that more housing that facilitates sharing will be needed in the future.  Our modelling suggests that one in five buyers are likely to buy a purpose-built, multi-gen home sometime over the next ten year period.

And given the Missive topic, I couldn’t help myself.

Smiling as the shit comes down

You can tell a man from what he has to say

Everything gets turned around

And I will risk my neck again, again

Four Seasons in One Day. Woodface 1991. Crowded House.

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Keen to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,


Michael Matusik


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