Accessory dwelling unit construction sees 123 percent increase in city of Sacramento

The number of accessory dwelling units built by property owners in the City of Sacramento jumped 123 percent in 2021— to 170 units from 76 in 2020. An additional 245 applications to build ADUs were received by the Planning and Development Department, a 38 percent increase.

The City has greatly streamlined the production of ADUs in an effort to encourage more affordable housing units of various types. Overall housing production in 2021 also remained close to 2020, when it reached its highest level since 2007.

In 2021, builders erected 3,364 housing units in the city of Sacramento, nearly matching the 2020 total of 3,764 and 9.3 percent more than in 2019, before the pandemic began. The 2021 total included 1,235 units affordable to low and very-low-income households. The numbers were released by the Planning and Development Department as an update on the City’s progress toward meeting its housing goals.

“We still have work to do, but I’m proud that our city has steadily lowered the barriers to building a variety of infill housing types we desperately need to address our twin crises of affordability and climate change,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

In February, Sacramento became the first local jurisdiction in California to win the state’s coveted new “Prohousing” designation, which will give it an advantage when competing for affordable housing, infrastructure, and transportation dollars.

Speaking at the press conference announcing the Prohousing designation, state Housing and Community Development Director Gustavo Velasquez praised Sacramento for adopting “a remarkable series of actions” to expedite and encourage housing development.

These include waiving fees for affordable housing construction, allowing housing by right in commercial corridors, speeding approvals for ADUs, and reducing or eliminating parking requirements for new housing, among many other policies the city has adopted or is pursuing.

The City of Sacramento is poised to make ADUs even easier and less expensive to build with a new online resource center set to launch in June. It will feature several free permit-ready ADU plans and an online tool that property owners can use to see where an ADU could fit onto their parcel according to the City’s Planning and Development Code. The resource center will also include a step-by-step process of how to develop an ADU. The ADU Resource Center is being developed with the assistance of State planning grant funds.

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