That ADU Would Make a Nice Airbnb

An Airbnb co-founder is jumping in the pre-fab backyard cottage game—but will too many ADUs become short-term rentals to make a difference for housing costs?

1 minute read

November 25, 2022, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Rendering of Samara Backyard ADU

Samara Living Inc. / Backyard

As short-term rentals proliferated around the world, housing advocates warned about the new model’s potential to have a negative impact on housing affordability and availability. “Earlier this year, New York City had more Airbnb listings than apartments available to rent,” writes Kim Velsey in Curbed.

“Now, one of Airbnb’s co-founders is launching a start-up to capitalize on the problem the company maybe sort of possibly exacerbated.” Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia’s new start-up will offer prefabricated accessory dwelling units (ADUs), the backyard apartments becoming more popular as cities and states around the country legalize them as part of the effort to encourage more housing construction and increase the availability of rental units.  As Velsey points out, the units look like prime candidates for Airbnb listings.

Ready-made ADUs are not a new concept, and some cities even offer a set of pre-approved ADU designs to streamline the process and make it more affordable for homeowners. But when asking the question of whether luxury ADUs like those built by Gebbia’s company will make a difference in the housing crisis, Velsey expresses skepticism. “They certainly won’t hurt, but making any kind of a dent would mean using the tens of thousands of new units being built in the state to, you know, actually house people.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2022 in Curbed

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