Multi-Generational Homes: Is this the Answer?

multigenerational family

Canada is experiencing a housing crisis characterized by skyrocketing home prices, limited availability, and affordability issues. One potential solution gaining attention is multigenerational housing, where multiple generations of a family share a single home. While this arrangement is often proposed as a way to address housing shortages and financial pressures, it raises the question: will it alleviate the crisis or make it worse? Additionally, is multigenerational living the right solution for everyone? This article explores the pros and cons of this trend and its implications for Canadian cities such as Hamilton, Burlington, and Oakville.

Understanding Multigenerational Housing

Multigenerational housing involves multiple generations of a family living under one roof, a trend common in Canadian cities with significant newcomer populations and high housing costs. Key cities with notable multigenerational living include:

  • Brampton: About 28% of households are multigenerational, driven by a large population of new Canadians.
  • Markham: Approximately 23% of households are multigenerational, reflecting its diverse population.
  • Hamilton: Multigenerational households make up 10% of homes, typically housing grandparents, parents, and children.
  • Greater Toronto Area (GTA): Around 17% of households are multigenerational, with this arrangement becoming increasingly common.
The Pros
  • Cost Savings: Sharing housing expenses reduces the financial burden. For instance, in Markham, families might split the mortgage and utility bills among working adults.
  • Support System: Living with family provides a built-in support network. In Brampton, grandparents might help with childcare.
  • Efficient Use of Space: Multigenerational homes utilize available land more efficiently, reducing environmental impact. A single large house in Abbotsford-Mission might accommodate three generations.
  • Stronger Family Bonds: Regular interaction strengthens family relationships. In the GTA, families might enjoy frequent shared meals and activities.
  • Shared Responsibilities: Household duties can be distributed among family members. In Hamilton, one person might cook while another handles grocery shopping.
The Cons
  • Privacy Issues: Sharing a home with multiple generations can lead to a lack of privacy and personal space, as a young adult in Oakville might find it challenging to have personal time.
  • Interpersonal Conflicts: Differences in lifestyles and values can cause conflicts. In Burlington, differing opinions on household rules could lead to tensions.
  • Higher Property Prices: Shared income can lead to higher mortgage values, pushing up home prices. In Brampton, demand for larger homes to accommodate multigenerational families has driven up property prices.
  • Infrastructure Strain: Increased population density can strain infrastructure and public services. Markham has seen higher demand for transportation, healthcare, and sanitation services due to multigenerational housing.
  • Higher Cost of Living: Enhanced infrastructure and services to support a denser population can increase the overall cost of living. In the GTA, higher property taxes might result from funding infrastructure improvements.

Read: Is Co-Buying Real Estate Right for You? A Guide for Young Ontarians Facing the Real Estate Crunch

Impact on Housing Prices

housing prices

One significant drawback of multigenerational housing is its impact on home prices. As multiple generations pool resources, they can afford higher mortgage values, driving up property prices. This phenomenon is evident in cities like Brampton, Markham, and the GTA, where the demand for larger homes has caused house prices to skyrocket and strained infrastructure.

Infrastructure and Public Services


The strain on infrastructure and public services is another critical issue. Cities like Brampton and Markham face increased demands on transportation, healthcare, and sanitation services, necessitating significant investments in infrastructure and leading to higher property taxes.

Crime Rates

While multigenerational housing is not directly linked to higher crime rates, cities with higher densities and diverse populations often face challenges in maintaining public safety. Brampton and Markham report higher crime rates compared to cities like Burlington and Oakville, where high-density housing is less prevalent. However, attributing this solely to housing arrangements oversimplifies the issue, as many factors contribute to crime rates.


While multigenerational housing offers benefits like cost savings, a robust support system, and efficient use of space, it also presents challenges such as privacy concerns, interpersonal conflicts, higher property prices, infrastructure strain, and increased living costs. For cities like Burlington and Oakville, adopting multigenerational housing requires caution and strategic planning.

The shared income model, while beneficial for individual families, can drive up home prices and property taxes, making it difficult for first-time buyers and those without multigenerational families nearby to enter the market. It can also strain infrastructure and public services, increasing the cost of living and causing social issues. Though multigenerational homes work for some, they aren’t a universal solution to Canada’s housing crisis. Policymakers must consider various solutions, like affordable housing initiatives, zoning reforms, and infrastructure investments, prior to considering large scale multi-generational development.

About the Author
Robert Budnikas
Robert is a trusted real estate professional with 20 years of service in Burlington, Hamilton, Milton and Oakville. He has helped many of his customers achieve their dreams of home ownership whether a first time home buyer, a family upgrading to a larger home or an empty nester looking forward to retirement. He's a dedicated realtor ready to take your real estate experience to the MAX!