Housing trend: Builders offer ‘home-within-a-home’

(MoneyWatch) American homes are getting a little congested.

An estimated 51.5 million people live in multi-generational housing, which typically means three generations under one roof. That number is expected to increase as baby boomers get older. At least 10,000 Americans will turn 65 each day for the next 19 years, according to the Pew Research Center.

Whether to take care of elderly parents or just to make ends meet for young couples and parents, more families are moving in together.

But last September, Williams found a solution that made his entire family — even his young son — happy. He bought a NextGen home from Lennar, a national builder that offers multi-generational housing in the Los Angeles area.

“The concept is to create a home-within-a-home,” says Jeff Roos, a Lennar regional president. “You have a full home with a separate, private apartment attached to it.”

NextGen homes look like any other, but each includes a separate “near” apartment, featuring a bedroom, bathroom, living area and kitchenette. It is “near” rather than “full” because it lacks a stove, which would technically turn the separate space into a new residence in most zoning codes. The apartment even has its own entrance.

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