With interest rates rising, there’s never been a better time to discover Lennar’s Next Gen® – The Home Within a Home®. With one shared mortgage, there’s no need to pay a secondary rent or elderly housing costs. Your family can enjoy cost savings and more opportunities for special family moments. Candace Jackson reports on the benefits of this “new American dream home” in a recent article for The New York Times.
A decade ago, a dream home was designed to wow your friends and neighbors. Today, it’s designed to house your relatives. Or your Airbnb guests. And also be your workplace. Homebuilders say one of the biggest selling points in 2018 isn’t a three-car garage or a grand entryway — it’s a home with flexibility.
Now, even as many housing markets have roared back from the bust to boom again, the American dream home is one you never have to leave.
Lennar, the nation’s largest homebuilder, is developing more than 300 of the homes in the master-planned community near the Ghost Mall. One of the most popular models? A home-within-a-home concept called Next Gen — basically a house that has an attached one-bedroom suite with an adjoining hotel-room-style door that can open to the main house, but it doesn’t have to.
A saleswoman gave me a tour of a $570,000, three-bedroom “Spanish eclectic”-style Next Gen model. Inside the apartment-like suite, there was a mini version of the main house’s kitchen, minus the huge island but with the same quartz countertops, on-trend gray cabinetry and bold geometric cube tile backsplash. A marketing flyer framed on the small kitchen table touted the potential: “Home office, separate teen suite or a returning college student’s private pad.” Later, she pointed out a two-story home about a block away that recently sold and told me that the buyers moved into it with their aging parents. “It’s whatever you want it to be!” she said.
With big open rooms, stylish furniture and a walk-in closet off the master bedroom strategically staged with just a handful of purple and gray garments neatly draped on hangers, I knew I was in a nice house — maybe even someone’s dream house. But the dream was tempered. The sales pitch seemed to take into account a new economic reality.
The new emphasis on home flexibility means some once-standard rooms are disappearing. Most of the model homes I toured that day in Elk Grove did not have formal living rooms or dining rooms, floor-plan staples in new homes for at least a hundred years. That’s not unusual. Lennar and other homebuilders say their most popular models today have “great rooms” that combine both, often with smaller total square footage.
Lennar introduced its Next Gen concept in 2011, during the depths of the recession. Mr. Jaffe said it was a way to generate interest when the market was slow and buyers needed new ways to help finance their mortgages. It has since become one of the company’s most popular home designs. The number of Next Gen homes built grew 21 percent in 2017 from the prior year, to nearly 1,500 homes, according to Lennar’s latest earnings statement.
Mr. Jaffe cheerfully talked me through some of the thoughtful design features of Next Gen homes. He even got a bit wistful, telling me how he’d heard from buyers about family dinners with grown children and grandparents being around for milestones like a baby’s first steps. His tone turned matter-of-fact when he got to the somewhat grim economic reality that partly prompted this. “The thing it addressed that is still relevant today is having two homes under one mortgage,” he said.