What Is A Granny Flat And Why Is Now A Great Time To Build One In San Diego?

What is a granny flat?

A “granny flat” is an additional living unit added to a property that already has an existing residence. Granny flats often have their own entrance, bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. A granny flat can be used as an income producing rental unit or simply a place for guests and family to stay with a little more privacy from the main house.

Other names for granny-flats include “in-law suite”, “rental unit”, “guest house”, “companion unit”, or “accessory dwelling unit”.

The additional unit can be created by adding onto an existing home, an existing home can be divided in a way to create multiple living units, or a new living unit can be built as a separate structure, often in a backyard. Granny flats are commonly built above a garage, or located in a basement or attic where it is easy to section off the living quarters.

Why is now a great time to build a granny flat in San Diego?

Until late April 2018 the cost to build a granny flat was more than $40,000 in government fees alone for some San Diego residents, according to NBC News San Diego. The large cost in fees in addition to the cost of construction were sometimes seen as prohibitive, discouraging some residents from building granny flats. Fortunately, the San Diego City Council voted at the end of April to lower the cost of building granny flats by more than 60% by waiving three of the required government fees to build granny flats.

The measures approved by the City Council make it easier to build granny flats and speed up the permit process for the construction of new homes. According to Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the move is designed to remove “barriers to encourage the construction of new units that San Diegans can actually afford”, by lowering fees and making it easier for residents to build more living units.

Housing prices in San Diego have been going up for years and according to City officials the average price to buy a home in San Diego now exceeds $550,000 and the average rent is now over $1700 making San Diego one of the most expensive cities to live in the country. Adding granny flats increases the available housing inventory, which should help lower the cost of rents in San Diego, or at least help slow the increase.

Benefits to having a granny flat

  • Privacy and separation from main home and granny flat
  • Can be income-producing if rent is charged to those living in the granny flat
  • Rental income can serve as passive income to help pay down the mortgage faster
  • Rental income can be saved to buy another income-producing home faster


What do you think? Would you build a granny flat? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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