If the younger Figueiredos do decide to come back, their parents are ready for them, having recently converted the loft of their home into a self-contained living space. "As a family we had been talking for some time about how our children would afford the rents in
Des and Sue considered moving to a larger home but the couple work as local church leaders and have built a life in their community. "We couldn't afford more space in Balham and we didn't want to move out of the area, so converting the loft space seemed like the logical solution," explains Des.
The conversion has created a one-bedroom flat upstairs, which Des and Sue are currently renting out via lodging service mondaytofriday.com, with the rental income covering the cost of the mortgage taken out to pay for the build. "If our children want to come back to
The Figueiredos' solution is a common response to the changing face of British society, with high housing costs, the burden of debt and the squeeze on disposable incomes all taking their toll on young people's ability to move out of home. Figures from the
It is not only the trend for twentysomething children to stay at home with parents that is changing the picture of modern British households - there are also a growing number of older parents moving back in with their children. With average life expectancies continuing to increase, almost 900,000 adults aged between 35 and 64 now have one or both parents living in their home, according to property firm Economic Lifestyle.
While moving is a possibility for some people, costs such as stamp duty, legal fees and estate agents' charges - not to mention the higher price of a larger property - mean that extending the existing family home is often the most practical option.
"We have seen a big increase in this sort of thing," says Karelia Scott-Daniels of Manse & Garret Property Search. "We find couples in their late 40s and 50s are already anticipating needing to house one or more parents and professional children."
There are all sorts of options for households who want more space. Where possible, creating self-contained properties within the family home - whether in a loft, basement or through some sort of annexe or granny flat - is appealing as it allows for independent living for both sets of residents. Just adding more room, even if the whole property remains communal, will also help. But this won't be possible in all properties - space and planning regulations can get in the way - and can be expensive.
More modest home improvements might achieve your objectives, suggests
"Remodelling can make your home seem much larger, especially if you open up the space and create open-plan, multi-function rooms that make the most of natural light," he adds.
Before you commit to a costly project, think about the impact on your home life in the short and longer term. As well as the day-to-day practicalities of living with extended family, consider the property you will eventually be left with. "If you do go ahead with changes to your home, make sure they can be used afterwards," says
Equally, take professional advice on the value you're creating - or not. "You must ensure that the property will be marketable when you come to sell, so ask three agents," says Guy Meacock of agency Prime Purchase. "The planning process has loosened up but extending is not always the best course of action. It's important not to overdevelop the plot: a small terrace, for example, might not cope with an extra family room and bedroom."
Then there's the question of how you'll pay for the work. The most common solution is to cash in on the equity you have in your home with a new mortgage, but lenders are under heightened regulatory pressure to ensure borrowers can afford to repay home loans, so don't assume you'll be able to borrow what you need.
There's also the issue of how the family will share the financial burden over time. Will you charge children or parents a commercial rent, for example? How will you split household bills? If you build an annexe, say, it may even make sense to have an additional electricity meter installed.
However, there may also be financial advantages to inter-generational living. "If everyone is living under one roof then the cost of running a household can be shared," points out
WHAT IT WILL COST
A budget of between pounds 1,050 and pounds 1,450 a square metre should be sufficient for a basic extension, but a more bespoke project might cost as much as pounds 1,850 a square metre, or even more if you have expensive tastes.
Holmes says: "Your selection of materials, fixtures and fittings will have a very big influence on the final cost - especially your choice of kitchen and bathroom fittings and flooring."
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