The Important Rise of Accessory Dwelling Units

California’s housing market has long been plagued by challenges in constructing multifamily properties in major cities. Limited space, stringent environmental laws, and neighborhood opposition have hindered the creation of much-needed housing options. However, amidst these difficulties, a promising trend has emerged: the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). These small, detached houses with their own utilities and entryways are gaining traction as a partial solution to the state’s affordable housing needs. In this blog post, we explore the growing popularity of ADUs in California and their potential to alleviate the housing crisis.

A Surge in ADU Permits: In recent years, California has witnessed a significant rise in ADU permits issued. Last year alone, over 23,000 permits were granted, a substantial increase compared to fewer than 5,000 permits in 2017. This surge can be attributed to legislative and regulatory changes that have streamlined the permitting process and mandated that cities allow ADUs of at least 850 square feet. Assemblymember Phil Ting’s proposed bill, which considers allowing the separate sale of ADUs from main houses, is among the various measures being debated to further promote ADU development.

Los Angeles Leading the Way: When it comes to ADU permitting, Los Angeles has emerged as the frontrunner, surpassing other cities by a considerable margin. In 2022, the city issued an impressive 7,160 ADU permits, with San Diego coming in second with 662 permits. To put this into perspective, only 1,387 permits were issued for single-family homes in Los Angeles during the same period. ADU permitting in the city was second only to permits issued for multiunit structures, highlighting their increasing popularity and contribution to housing supply.

A Nationwide Trend: The success of ADUs extends beyond California, as other states have also embraced their potential. Oregon, Montana (in select cities), and Washington have all recognized the value of ADUs and implemented measures to facilitate their construction. Throughout the country, approximately 40 laws have been introduced addressing ADUs in various forms. Supporters of ADUs emphasize their advantages, such as relatively low rental prices, their ability to integrate into densely populated neighborhoods with convenient access to jobs and amenities, and their potential to generate additional rental income or provide housing for extended family members.

Addressing the Housing Crisis: The rapid proliferation of ADUs in California reflects the demand from homeowners to maximize the use of their land while contributing to solutions for the state’s affordability crisis. With soaring rental and property prices that far exceed the national average, California residents are struggling to secure affordable housing. Moreover, homelessness has reached crisis levels, and an increasing number of residents are relocating to more affordable states. ADUs offer a viable option to address these pressing issues by providing additional housing units at a relatively lower cost.

Conclusion: As California grapples with its ongoing affordable housing crisis, Accessory Dwelling Units have emerged as a beacon of hope. Their popularity is on the rise, supported by legislative changes and a growing understanding of their benefits. ADUs present a practical solution that utilizes existing space and infrastructure, allowing homeowners to contribute to affordable housing while meeting their own needs. While challenges persist in constructing multifamily properties, ADUs offer a promising avenue for expanding the housing supply, fostering community integration, and ultimately improving the lives of Californians.

Thinking of moving or investing and need a referral for a Real Estate Broker, we can help: email us at, fill in the form below or call 925-838-4300. Terry McDaniel DRE license #00941526

Author: Terry McDaniel

What motivates me? 1. Fun. 2. Learning. 3. Blessing and prospering people before profit. 4. Being the hero.

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