06 May 2015

Children Rule The Roost In North West Homes

  • 67% of adults in the North West compromise on their own space in order to accommodate their children's needs
  • 61% of today's children have free run of entire home
  • 7% of adults now return to live in the family home after moving out


67% of UK adults compromise on their own space within the home to accommodate their children's demands, according to new research from Barratt Homes. The research revealed that over half of children today (61%) have free run of the entire home, with no space off limits to them, including their parents' bedroom or the 'posh' lounge. Children's influence over the home space is certainly increasing when compared with previous generations - with only 41% of today's parents saying they had free reign of the family home when they were younger.

To enable children to have more dedicated space within the home, 1 in 5 adults (20%) have forgone a dining room, and 11% have sacrificed space to store and use fitness equipment. Children within the home today have:

  • 19.7% - play room
  • 19% - play area in the garden
  • 12% - separate lounge
  • 9% - have a computer room

But children continue to rule the roost well into later life too, calling on emotional and financial support from their parents - 7% of adults in the North West have moved back to the family home having previously moved out. Of those returning to live with parents the main causes are relationship break-up (33%), to save for a deposit (38%), and lack of affordability in the rental market (23%).

Of parents polled, Londoners (22%) are the most likely to have children who have moved back to the family home, followed by those in the North East (20%). Parents polled in Scotland are the least likely to have children move back to the family home (5%).

Changing family dynamics

As family life continues to evolve these changes are directly impacting what we look for in a new property. The Barratt research highlighted that a third of homebuyers in the North West (33%) look 10 years into the future when choosing their home, with a similar number (34%) seeking a property that can easily be changed and adapted as their lifestyle or circumstances change over the years. And this trend isn't just to accommodate children - multi-generational and extended-family living is now common with one in eight households currently comprising non-immediate family members, such as cousins and grandparents under one roof.

To cope with changing patterns of family life the top five internal factors homebuyers in Lancashire now look for when searching for a new property are:

  1. Open plan: kitchen or dining area
  2. Easy access to outside space: such as double doors from kitchen
  3. Flexibility: ability to change function of the room
  4. Sociability: how it works for socialising
  5. Study: being able to have a private study

Speaking about the changing way families are living together, Patrick Law, Corporate Affairs Director at Barratt Developments said: "We are continually researching and monitoring how families use their space at home, and Barratt incorporates this into the thoughtful design of the new homes we build. There is a big difference in the homes we design for modern family life compared with those built in the 1930s to meet the needs of families 80 years ago.

"Having a space which families can use in different ways is really critical to our home buyers. Open plan living is increasingly important but at the same time buyers are often looking for some sort of sanctuary space, whether that's a separate study or an upgraded bedroom. And today's family battleground now seems to be whether that space will also become dominated by children - whatever their age."

Juliet Landau-Pope, Social Scientist added, "Organising space in the home and finding effective ways to make the best of the space available to us is an ongoing challenge - especially in modern family homes where multi-generational and extended-family living isn't uncommon, and children are acquiring more toys, games and gadgets than ever before."

"Designating particular areas within different rooms for family items, not only encourages us to organise our own space, but also inspires other family members to keep things tidy. Magazine racks and baskets for example help us to make the most of open plan living - and minimising your home archive by being very selective over souvenirs, and other mementos helps to create a clutter free modern family living environment."

To find out how you can make the most of the space in a new build home and to understand Barratt Homes can help you utilise the space you have visit http://www.barratthomes.co.uk/New-is/A-place-for-everything/.