WSJ: Why Space for Aging Parents is the Hot New Amenity

All snarky in-law jokes aside, the hottest amenity in real estate these days is an in-law unit, an apartment carved out of an existing home or a standalone dwelling on the homeowners’ property, The Wall Street Journal writes in a recent article

While the adult children get the peace of mind of having mom and dad nearby, real estate agents say the in-law accommodations are adding value to their homes.

In an analysis of real estate listings, homes with in-law units, technically called accessory-dwelling units (ADUs), were priced about 60% higher than houses without them, according to real estate website Zillow, which examined the past four years of new listings in major cities.

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And in a 2012 survey of 550 homeowners with one or more living parents by PulteGroup, one of the nation’s largest home builders, 32% of respondents said they expected to have an aging relative live with them in the future.

Architects also cite an uptick in requests for in-law units. “We hardly ever do a house anymore that doesn’t have multiple buildings,” often as dwellings for aging parents, Michael Frederick, an architect in Beaufort, S.C., told the WSJ. 

However, until recently, homeowners in many areas weren’t able to build in-law units on their properties because of local regulations that made them either illegal or too complex to build. But efforts by AARP and individuals like Portland-based ADU blogger and educator Kol Peterson have led to loosened rules in some areas.

Fully permitted in-law units see the highest property values in areas where short-term rentals are both in-demand and legal.

To read the full Wall Street Journal article, click here

Written by Emily Study

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