Dec 15, 2022 - News

Des Moines nonprofit unveils newest accessory dwelling unit

Accessory dwelling unit

A newly constructed home alongside a new accessory dwelling unit at 1007 Euclid Ave., Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Home Inc.

Home Inc., a Des Moines-based non-profit organization, is unveiling one of the city's first newly-constructed accessory dwelling units (ADU).

Why it matters: The city eased the requirements for homeowners to develop ADU's earlier this year in an effort to create more affordable housing options.

  • By showcasing a home with one, Home, Inc. hopes to inspire people to construct their own, said Tony Montgomery, executive director of the group.

How it works: An ADU is a smaller housing unit that's attached to an existing home. They can be built in basements, garages or stand-alone in backyards — also called "guesthouses."

  • They have staple amenities like a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom.

State of play: Home Inc. built a four-bedroom/two-bathroom house at 1007 Euclid Ave., Des Moines.

  • The 500-square-foot ADU is attached to the property's garage and has 1 bedroom/1 bathroom with a full kitchen and living room. Picture a studio apartment.
  • The property is for sale for $345,000.

What they're saying: This housing option is particularly beneficial for caregivers and seniors who want their own living spaces, but easy access to help support each other, said Brad Anderson, executive director of AARP Iowa.

  • By 2035, Iowa will have more people over the age of 65 than under 18, highlighting the need for more housing options, Anderson said.

Between the lines: Only three permits have been issued in the last two years for new detached ADUs, said Mike Ludwig, interim director of development services for Des Moines.

  • The low number reflects the newness of the eased requirements, as well as construction struggles like high supply costs.
  • He expects applications to rise, especially since the city recently approved a new tax abatement, waiving 100% of ADUs property taxes for 10 years.

What's next: Other metro cities are considering changing their zoning regulations to also allow for ADUs.

Inside of ADU
The inside of a newly constructed accessory dwelling unit at 1007 Euclid Ave. Photo courtesy of Home Inc.
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