A study, carried out by eBay.co.uk, has revealed the disconnect between the way we live and the spaces we inhabit
It could be time for a rethink of the 'two up, two down' model, as now, nearly half (47 per cent) said they live or have lived in what has been termed a 'non-traditional' family household, whilst a fifth (18 per cent) reside with three or more generations beneath a single roof.
The five new household types are:
1. Multi-generational: this is where three or more generations live together.
2. Beanpole: this is a multigenerational extended family household where different generations live together, yet there are few siblings.
3. Sandwich: a family home where parents simultaneously look after young children and older parents.
4. Boomerang: this is where an adult child has returned to live with their parents in the family home.
5. Blended: two or more unrelated families live together
Both the older and younger generations are contributing to this changing landscape, with a third (34 per cent) who live, or who have lived in non-traditional households, saying their adult children moved back in as they couldn’t afford their own place. Another one in five have elderly relatives who are too old or poorly to live alone (12 per cent).
It was also revealed that 59 per cent of Brits in this setup don't think the UK housing market is fit for purpose, and subsequently struggles to cope with the new landscape. Homes are still based around the 'traditional' family image, which means they can be hard to adjust to the changing living situation. 74 per cent are looking for homebuilders who consider modern family situations when constructing new-builds.
However, it goes further than the changing family structures - it's also the number of inhabitants. 79 per cent of Brits, who currently live or have lived in a non-traditional home, share with up to six people, whilst 2 per cent lived with 10 or more.
38 per cent who are in a houseful of people have been forced to physically alter the space to cope, which on average, costs £333, but can increase to £5,000.
The measures taken include converting a communal room into an additional bedroom, redecorating to suit the tastes of other family members, and building an extension to create more living space.
This could explain why Brits who either currently live or have lived in a non-traditional set up are calling in architects and interior designers, as they need their property to evolve to meet their needs. This has seen 66 per cent develop housing and 56 per cent look to improve the interiors that are modular and easy to adapt for the changing family types.
The shift has continued as 20 per cent of those in non-traditional families believe they will be living in a 'non-traditional' home within five years, while 62 per cent think most of the UK will be in an unconventional family set up in the future, as living costs rise.
Commenting on the research, Professor Jane Falkingham, said: "Over the past decade multi-family households have been the fastest growing household type, although this still only represents a small proportion of all households. Across the life course, more people will experience living in a non-traditional family at some stage of their lives. In early adulthood, more young people today are sharing households with friends; more are also returning to live with parents after finishing education. In mid-life, more people are finding themselves sandwiched between continuing to provide support for their adult children – and caring for their grandchildren – whilst also caring for their frail older parents."