Words: Candice Botha | Images: Shutterstock

With the economic climate and security both major concerns for South Africans, there’s a rising trend of several family members pooling their resources and purchasing a property where they will all live together.

“The number of new retirement homes being built has not kept up with demand for financially independent baby boomers who want to retire and look for a home for this next phase in their lives,” says Mark Hoinkes, area specialist, Lew Ge­ffen Sotheby’s International Realty Umhlanga, Durban North, Mount Edgecombe, Essenwood and Glenashley. “Baby boomers who have not managed to become financially independent now have the option to ‘hive’ to be closer to grandchildren and assist busy working parents who lead busy lifestyles.”

Lawrence Homan, owner and franchisee of Just Property Margate and Berea, agrees that the general setup is for parents, their children and grandchildren to live together. “Although, siblings and their children do move in together should they find themselves in financial difficulty.”

Hoinkes says unexpected circumstances such as divorce and death may prompt siblings to hive while they recover. Houses with a granny flat or two; separate, self-contained wings; or a large property which can be subdivided to accommodate several dwellings are in demand. This includes properties owned by the older generation where the children move into the main house.

“Similarly, the demand for smallholdings with several dwellings is increasing, as siblings or cousins band together to buy properties that will serve as family ‘compounds’ and enable them jointly to provide housing for their ageing parents or grandparents,” says Berry Everitt, CEO, Chas Everitt. “This type of hive living is quite distinct from the cocooning that was popular a few years ago, in that it enables members of the family to share living spaces and interact closely when they wish, but also live quite independent lives.”

Hoinkes says, “Depending on the mobility of parents, same-level garden cottages and flatlets are preferred, and most people like to have their own kitchens and bathrooms rather than sharing these with family.”