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'Granny flats' offer new solutions for families

NEXTGEN Homes by Lennar
NEXTGEN Homes by Lennar

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Troy Hokanson once had to drive 11 miles to check on his elderly mother. Now he just knocks on her door. That's because he recently moved into a new home in Lakeville that has a separate apartment for her.

Such homes are a new trend. They're not considered duplexes because the apartments aren't designed for renters. They share common utilities including water, cable TV and electricity. But they're popular with those who want to live near a loved one, without living with them.

The units were designed by Lennar Homes, under the brand ''NextGen'' homes. The company says it has sold about 600 nationwide.

The U.S. Census says about 17 percent of Americans, about 51 million, live in multi-generational homes.

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