Low California Housing Inventory Boosts Landlord Support for ADUs
High California home prices continue to be fueled by low inventory and strong demand. Homebuyers know that the solution to these opposing forces is more accommodation. But the obstacles of strict zoning and political opposition to change make increased construction easier said than done.
Insufficient construction has long been the root of California’s housing shortage. But buyers and landlords believe the solution lies in building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in residential neighborhoods, according to a 2022 Zillow survey of U.S. homeowners and renters.
An ADU is a secondary, self-contained dwelling unit located on a single-family residential (SFR) ground. They may or may not be attached to the existing property and are also known as casitas or granny flats.
Survey respondents showed clear support for building ADUs, with:
- 69% of respondents are in favor of building ADUs; and
- 31% of respondents opposed or indifferent.
Respondents who support the construction of ADUs believe that ADUs will create more housing. In fact, 76% of renters — who are more likely to be looking for a home — support building ADUs, compared to 66% of landlords.
California residents are even more likely to support the construction of ADUs, including:
Support for ADU’s build is high, but will it translate to a bigger build?
The benefits of building ADUs
With the overwhelming favor for ADU construction in California, it’s easy to see the benefits, which:
- provide a source of Income for owners who choose to rent their homes;
- To allow extended family like the elderly or adult children to live on the same property but have their own space; and
- increase property values.
In addition, the creation of lower-cost housing will slow the rapid pace of increases in California home prices, including rents.
But the biggest obstacle to building ADUs is a familiar culprit: restrictive zoning policies. The main way to create more construction is to relax zoning rules.
Restrictive zoning has held back residential construction over the years by:
- land use regulations;
- Parking Restrictions;
- lot sizes;
- height restrictions; and
- allowing costs and delays.
Not in my backyard (NIMBY) advocates favor restrictive zoning and limited ADU construction. These NIMBY advocates have long been on the winning side of the issue, but things are starting to change in California.
California lawmakers attack the state lack of housing on several fronts. One such solution recently went into effect as a new law on January 1, 2022. Senate Bill (SB) 9 allows any SFR to add an ADU and is an important part of the package. of Housing Opportunities for All in the State. This makes the process easier for owners subdivide their SFR lot.
However, the NIMBYs are trying to circumvent the SFR zoning ban and limit new development. Without the cooperation of local governments with the law and the clear support of their residents, the housing shortage will continue.
To stay informed about how your community is tackling the housing shortage, keep up to date with how your local government approach to zoning changes. Or if you want to be a more active participant, you can attend a local town council meeting and be part of the change you seek.
Without enough housing to meet demand, your real estate career is in jeopardy. Sufficient housing and stable prices are essential for a healthy sales volume, necessary for a reliable income stream.