Residents of San Diego County are all too aware that affordable housing has become increasingly difficult to come by. The average home price in San Diego is around $675,000, while a typical one bedroom apartment costs about $2,000 a month in rent. Heck, even renting a room is pricey. With homelessness on the rise, and a pandemic threatening the livelihoods of so many, a solution to the affordable housing crisis is long overdue.
Over the last several years tiny houses have transitioned from a fad to a movement, and from a movement to a fledgling industry. The three biggest constraints for growth have been land, lending, and laws. Thankfully, members of the San Diego City Counsel have taken a major step to solve where to park a tiny house. The counsel has recently passed a law allowing homeowners the option to park a tiny house on their property.
The scoop on tiny houses
The tiny house movement has gained a whole lot of momentum in the past several years, fueled in part by concern for the environment, the thrill of traveling, and the desire to live minimally. Members of the tiny house community have gained massive followings, and the trend only seems to be growing.
Similar to a granny flat or an ADU (accessory dwelling unit), a tiny house on wheels provides all of the necessities one needs to live comfortably. Most tiny homes can include a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping loft, and in some cases, more luxurious creature comforts like a dishwasher or laundry hookup. There are a few key differences between a granny flat and a tiny home, including the size, price, type of foundation, as well as the turnaround time for production. Tiny homes are generally mobile, built on a trailer rather than a traditional concrete slab. They tend to be a bit smaller than a granny flat, averaging around 150 to 400 square feet. Tiny houses also tend to be less expensive than a granny flat, and can be constructed in nearly half the time. That being said, a homeowner can see a return on their tiny home investment in as little as 4 years.
What does this mean for San Diego homeowners?
San Diego is just one of many cities in California to recently approve the use of tiny homes as accessory dwellings, a list which includes San Jose, Sacramento, Fresno, and Los Angeles. But what does this new law really mean for San Diegans?
For starters, it gives residents an opportunity to supplement their existing income, making their mortgage and other expenses easier to manage. Amid the pandemic, and the financial insecurity many families are facing, this new law can make a world of difference. It also gives you the ability to add additional living space to your property for personal use, such as a backyard office, she-shed, yoga studio. There are a variety of creative ways for you to utilize the additional square footage added to your property.
Those living in areas that neighbor wilderness reserves are excluded in the law, as these areas are more susceptible to wildfires. And for those thinking of building a tiny home as a vacation rental, not so fast. The law currently prohibits the property from being rented for less than 30 days at a time.
These types of dwellings are ideal for lower income populations, including students, recent grads, and senior citizens. The hope is that tiny home communities begin to develop across San Diego County, providing a win-win solution for homeowners and individuals looking for attainable housing solutions.