The Latest Quick Fix for the Housing Crisis? GRANNY FLATS

January 15, 2020

The rise in ADU permit applications since these changes points to pent-up demand. More than 10,000 permits have been filed in Los Angeles since 2017, compared to just a few hundred each year before the new regulations, according to the city. “The places where we’ve seen the most strident opposition to changes in zoning … are nevertheless seeing a huge uptick in applications for ADUs,” says Matthew Lewis, director of communications for California YIMBY, a pro-housing advocacy organization.

A rapidly expanding number of empty nesters on fixed incomes live in houses bigger than they need but can’t afford to relocate or enter nursing homes, says Lewis of California YIMBY. Sure, those living in areas where real estate prices have jumped exponentially could sell their properties for more than a million dollars. But the national median cost of a private room in a nursing home was roughly $8,400 per month in 2018, according to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, whereas home health aides cost $4,000. For those who don’t need intensive care, downsizing nearby involves paying an untenable 2019 market rate. “What do you do when people have too much house, but either can’t afford to move,” Lewis says, or “are really committed to their community and want to stay there?”