Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Today, granny flats; tomorrow …?

House   Where do Americans go when their houses are foreclosed?   The enormous downward movement in housing demand is likely to increase the pressure on local governments to allow more non-traditional forms of housing units, such as “granny flats” and other accessory dwelling units.  Localities have typically objected to these forms of housing because they harm the “character” of the community, upset expectations, and raise density unacceptably.  But the heavy demand for cheap housing is pushing governments from the east coast to the west coast to take small steps to allow more accessory units for least elderly relatives –- if not for the cousin's family who walked away from their mini-mansion because they couldn’t make their mortgage payments.  In an era of earth-shaking changes in the American housing market, such small steps may represent portentous cracks in legal attitudes towards residential density …

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