Build an ADU in San Jose

San Jose is one of the best places in California to build an ADU

San Jose is at the epicenter of the California housing crisis. The combination of the tech boom and the lack of new residential real estate development has led to enormous rises in home values.

This chart from Zillow demonstrates that average home values have doubled since 2011, and currently sit over $1,000,000. While home prices cooled off a bit in 2019, the current forecasts are expected to rise. With continued hiring from the big tech companies, there seems to be no end in sight to the current trends.

While the housing market has been of great benefit to San Jose homeowners, it has made life unaffordable for anyone who doesn’t work in tech or other high paying industries, which may be an issue for the longevity of neighborhoods as young people may not be able to move in. Housing prices also correlate with an increase in homelessness rates.

High housing prices have driven homeowners across San Jose to seek new sources of rental income. Adding a new unit to a property can generate significant passive income and home appreciation, as well as creating new affordable units to address the broader crisis.

San Jose residents have found their answer in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). ADUs refer to second units on residential properties; think backyard units or garage conversions. ADUs are a relatively low-cost way to boost the earning potential and value of your property.

Find out whether you can build an ADU on your San Jose property. Search your property on Housable’s free property check tool, and see how an income generating addition might fit on your property!

By adding an ADU, otherwise known as a granny flat, to your property, you can take underutilized space and make it work for you. An empty garage or backyard can become a new source of income, and a source of relief for those looking for modest dwellings close to work.

An ADU is an independent, fully functional unit with a kitchen, bathroom, living space, and a separate entrance. An ADU is an excellent option to house 1-2 people.

Imagine the possibilities if you had this extra space in your San Jose backyard! You could rent it out, have a place for your parents or children to stay,

Local Zoning and Regulations

San Jose is notably one of the most ADU-friendly municipalities in California, and the Housable zoning team has an excellent working relationship with the city planning office.

San Jose has set a goal to become California’s friendliest ADU city The mayor Sam Liccardo is busy with a flurry of initiatives to make it easier to build ADUs.

The city has reduced permit fees as a way to encourage additional ADU development. The city is in full compliance with the recent passage of statewide laws, including SB13, AB68, AB881, and AB670, meaning all single-family homeowners are legally allowed to add one ADU to their property (assuming compliance with building, fire code, etc.). Owner-occupied properties are also entitled to add a Junior ADU (JADU) - a unit that is 500 sq feet or less - in addition to their ADU.

On a very exciting note, the city planning office offers an express-lane service, which means that if your designs and blueprints are prepared correctly, your project can be approved in as little as one day.

Learn more about Housable’s ADU design and permitting options by viewing our ADU services pages

The city is even exploring a $5 mil public financing program, which will lend to homeowners at low-interest rates to encourage new ADU development.

For more information on the local San Jose building regulations, please visit our San Jose city page, which has a detailed breakout of all of the local guidelines. When you’re ready, search your property using our Property Check tool, which will give you a clearer idea of whether you can build an ADU on your San Jose property.

Additional Space

Are you running out of space with a growing family? Looking to live closer to aging parents? ADUs are an excellent way to increase your living space without making significant property alterations or selling your home and moving to a new location.

According to, the average annual cost of a semi-private room in a California nursing home is as much as $100,000! If aging parents are capable of living semi-independently in their own private space, an ADU is potentially a much better use of money than incurring high nursing home or assisted living costs.

Take the Next Step

Are you ready to start learning more about ADUs in San Jose with no long term commitment? Search your property using Housable’s free Property Check tool to check your eligibility to build.

Then, when you’re ready to move your project forward, you can browse our designs to see which ADU might fit on your property!

All of this is with no commitment, and you’ll start to get very valuable information about what it requires to build an ADU.

Learn more today. Housable: The ADU Marketplace.