There’s a housing crisis in California, with too little housing for too high of a price. But there’s one type of dwelling that could make a difference in the crisis: the accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, also known as a “granny flat.” These are small homes or units that sit on the same property as another home, allowing cities to densify and offer more rental units, and owners to generate income.
ADUs have been around for a while, and many cities and states–including California–are passing laws that encourage people to build them. Now some big names are putting their weight behind the concept. This weekend, prominent designer Yves Béhar will preview his design for an ADU, which will be built by the Amazon-backed startup LivingHomes and its manufacturing arm Plant Prefab, at the Los Angeles festival Summit.
Behar’s design looks relatively similar to the large number of small pre-fab homes that are on the market. But his prototype for LivingHomes indicates the business world’s interest in ADUs. But the key will be price: The unit currently costs $280,000, though Behar says he plans to bring the price below $100,000. “Plant Prefab is investing in robotic construction and new assembly technology, which will help us to bring the cost down,” Behar tells the New York Times. “We think of it a little like a Tesla Model S versus a Tesla Model 3, with a progression of products that will be priced differently.”
With venture-backed companies now building ADUs, the housing type seems to be gaining even more momentum; hopefully, it might have an impact on the housing crisis–especially in expensive places like California.