The accessory dwelling unit -- a small detached house with its own utilities and entryway -- is a trend that could help address California’s housing crisis. “The speed at which ADUs have been able to scale across the state has been really surprising,” said David Garcia, policy director for the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley. More than 23,000 ADU permits were issued in California last year, compared with fewer than 5,000 in 2017. Los Angeles issued 7,160 ADU permits in 2022, second only to the 13,400 permits for multiunit structures. Just 1,387 permits were issued for single family homes. San Diego was the second highest with 662 ADUs. One study found that ADUs are most often being built in low- to middle-income areas, often in places with relatively good access to jobs, suggesting the ADU is a viable form of development in places where it may not be easy to build.

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