Multigenerational homes under development in Hudson
Nashua-based Etchstone Properties first to develop dual homes with Nadeau Village
Multigenerational housing is back. But did it ever really go away?
Rising home prices and changing family dynamics have brought this concept out of the shadows. Multiple families living under one roof is back in play with nicer spaces and design-specific living features that are attracting new buyers.
In the case of a New Hampshire developer’s newest community, multigenerational living features main homes with attached single-level dwellings and is expected to be a game changer with Nadeau Village, located in northeast Hudson. Etchstone Properties of Nashua is first to jump into development of new duplex homes with higher-end trims and finishes that attract an increasingly affluent market. Multiple generational living is a concept Etchstone President Jaron Slattery understands from firsthand experience.
“We kind of went back to a 2006 thought process that was sort of born out of my own family’s situation with my grandparents. And we said, ‘You know what? This idea that was brought up back then is now even more prevalent today,’” Slattery said.
“My grandmother was in a nursing home in Tyngsboro, and my mom used to travel down every single day to see her. My grandfather at 95 years old used to travel down every single day to see her. And I can remember my father sort of started the ball rolling on this concept of a duplex that would be in-law style living, and be able to get people out of these nursing homes and into a direct living situation with their families.”
That was 17 years and many developments ago. Nadeau Village in Hudson expects to meet an emerging market appetite for multigenerational housing.
The dynamics of family life have changed, Slattery believes. Not only did the Covid-19 pandemic cause families to pull loved ones from nursing homes, but healthcare costs have escalated, creating a perfect opportunity for Etchstone’s first development of this type. In addition to bringing older parents into the home, there is yet another population that feeds into this, Slattery adds.
“It’s (also) families who have kids coming back from college that simply can’t afford rent in today’s market, (and) it’s the international families who, culturally, this is how they live. Until the kids leave the house and move on, and get married on their own, they all stay under one roof.” In addition to positioning loved ones into comfortable living styles, the dual homes are an attractive investment for owners.
“So you’re really getting the kind of a two-for-one deal, but it’s even more than that. You have more than what that square footage represents. You have two kitchens. You have two completely separate living areas. You have two completely separate homes, but you’ve got the advantages of the close proximity.”
The 15 dual homes are currently being built on 2+ acre lots off Old Derry Road in Hudson. Two models offer full amenities with different floor plans. The larger version, The Taylor, offers two-floor living, one-floor secondary unit, all with a combined 4,153 square feet. Each unit has its own garage. The smaller, single-level offering, The Charlotte, sits on 3,113 combined square footage between the two homes.
Slattery points out that utilities are all individual. You get two electrical services coming into the houses, and there are two separate wells for each unit, as well as its own dedicated address. Etchstone will initially sell to 15 buyers, but once an owner takes possession of both units, if one half becomes vacant, the option is there to rent or convey to a new owner.
Depending on size, prices range between $1.2 to $1.4 million. High-end finish, trim and appliances are part of the amenity packaging.
Filling the gaps in the market
While the market appears ready for this housing option, why has it taken this long to finally build a community of multigenerational homes? It’s a facet Slattery and other builders wrestle with.
“How do you make housing affordable when you have cities, and towns, and local jurisdictions that don’t want to flex at all on zoning, or don’t want to take the time to review zoning ordinance, and planning departments don’t want to? Listen, they’re short-staffed, they’re focused on other things, and (it’s hard) to get them to sit down and rewrite ordinances, or sit down in front of these planning commissions and get their buy-in on this stuff,” he said.
Rex Norman, former longtime assessor in Windham and Nashua believes the tide may be turning on planning boards’ acceptance of concepts like Etchstone’s.
“I believe town planning boards are starting to listen to the requests for more diverse housing and would embrace the concept of planned intergenerational housing. They may even be open to zoning options to attract a quality development of this type that meets the needs of the community,” Norman said. He also says that the community benefits from this type of diverse housing.
“Having an option to share the cost of housing is another attraction for adult children and their parents. The community would benefit from seniors wishing to assist in child care, share wisdom, volunteer and enjoy the youthful element in this type of neighborhood,” Norman added. A survey of local realtors showed enthusiasm for the concept.
“It’s so funny you’re asking about that now,” said Lori Warriner from the Gove Group Realty LLC in Stratham. “I’ve been looking for the past few years for some friends of mine — their daughter is trying to find a place that her mom and dad can move into with her and have their own apartment.”
She added: “Avoiding assisted living is also much better for the finances — it’s wildly expensive. So living together? Let’s do it!”
Josh Judge at Berkshire Hathaway/Verani Reality is on board with multigenerational housing as well, jumping in on Slattery’s view that a nice upside is the investment component.
“Housing has become much more scarce and expensive, so this option solves several problems and is often cheaper than securing several housing locations,” Judge believes. Realtor Tom McPherson from Re/Max Innovative Properties, Inc. is representing Etchstone in bringing buyers to the table.
“Well, a lot of the homes that are selling in-laws are a split entry, older home (with) finished basement, or they’re doing some new construction where they’re doing in-law incorporated in the house, which I believe they’re only allowed to be like 700 square feet, and you’re actually physically living in the same four walls,” said McPherson.
Lori Warriner adds to Tom’s comments by saying, “Most-in-law suites or additions are in the basement, which is okay. But people like light, too!”
“Nadeau Village is the former Nadeau Farm in Hudson, which we purchased it in 2005,” Slattery shared. “In 2004 and 2005, we renovated the barns and created a light industrial park. We also renovated the existing farmhouse that was there into a duplex, two residential units where Shirley Nadeau actually still lives. She rents from us there, and we see her regularly. So it’s been a piece that we’ve operated the industrial park for 15, 18 years now. And here we are finally back to getting out in the field with this unique offering,” he added, just as Slattery and his late father Kevin envisioned years earlier.
With many developments including single-family custom homes, detached condos, age-restricted condo projects, a four-story 63-unit multifamily building and a few hundred rental units, Etchstone has established itself as a major project development force in the state, as Slattery looked back over four decades.
“It started in 1984 with a single-family house in Hudson, New Hampshire. I think at one time I can remember (my dad) saying, ‘Yeah, if I do three or four houses a year, it’ll be a nice supplemental income.'”
It turns out that multigenerational runs in the family.