Granny flats back in fashion

IT'S official, the granny flat is making a comeback.

The number of properties with a separate annexe for family members has increased by more than a third in the past two years, according to The Valuation Office Agency.

The research shows that it’s the baby boom generation who are the most likely to need extra accommodation.

Both for younger family members who are unable to get on the property ladder themselves, and also dependent elderly parents, largely due to the increasing costs of long-term care.

Strutt & Parker’s Housing Futures echoes this trend, identifying the increase in multi-generational living as a key shift in the property market.

In its latest annual survey results, 15 per cent of respondents who intend to move in the next five years anticipated living as The Waltons – with multiple generations all under one roof – compared with 10 per cent the previous year.

Stephanie McMahon, head of research at Strutt & Parker, said: “This is a trend we see increasing over the next decade, with rising house prices bringing several generations together under one roof. We call this tribe of homeowners The Waltons, with at least three generations living together, but this could also extend to households that share their living space with friends, extended family or the unmarried partners of children.”

The Strutt & Parker Housing Futures research also highlighted the need for more flexible family homes to suit homeowners’ evolving needs and identified the "Yo-yo house" as a possible solution.

Stephanie continues: “The ‘Yo-Yo house’ focuses on flexibility: growing, contracting and evolving with its occupants, offering them different space use over their lifetime.

For example, the footings will allow a garage space, not only to be converted to a single-storey living space, but to two or three-storey living space – the cost of retro-fitting being higher than the cost of future-proofing at the build stage.”