San Diego

City of San Diego Slashes Fees for Granny Flat Construction to Help End Housing Crisis

More than 70 percent of San Diegans can’t afford to buy a home at the county’s median home cost of more than $550,000.

It will cost much less to build a companion unit – or "granny flat" - on your property in the city of San Diego.

Until now, homeowners have paid $40,000 or more in government fees alone, before even starting construction on a companion unit.

By a unanimous vote, with Councilmember David Alvarez absent, the city council Monday slashed those fees by more than 60 percent. 

“With these new incentives, we’re removing barriers to encourage the construction of new units that San Diegans can actually afford,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a news release issued after the council’s approval.

Faulconer said the city will make other changes to help homeowners design and build companion units, which he hopes will add at least 2,000 new units to the city’s housing stock by 2028.

The mayor’s office noted that more than 70 percent of San Diegans can’t afford to buy a home at the county’s median home cost of more than $550,000.

That makes San Diego one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets.

During Monday’s discussion, councilmembers noted that granny flats – built next to, above, or behind an existing home – can help alleviate housing shortages.

In late 2017, the San Diego City Council approved a package of housing reform measures to tackle the local housing crisis. The approved measures will make it easier to build granny flats and speed up the permit process for the construction of new homes.

The change means there will be less hassle during the permit process. There are even how-to manuals for building the granny flat to fit within city standards.

The law is meant for homeowners who have a home but have extra space in their yard or garage to add a granny flat. It was not designed for vacant lots.

According to the city, the average rent in San Diego has reached more than $1,700 a month and the average price of a home exceeds $550,000.

Families also spend approximately 30 percent of their income on housing.

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