Portland’s New Housing Boom: Small Backyard Homes

Enhabit is working with Portland State University’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions to make it easier and more affordable for Portland homeowners to construct a second house on their property—increasing housing options in a city with some of the fastest rising rents and lowest vacancy rates in the nation.

‘Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)’ are small backyard homes that can be used by family members or rented out to others in the community. City agencies, architects, financial institutions, and low-income housing providers are working to develop a simple, affordable, ready-to-go solution for homeowners interested in building an ADU.

Are you interested in putting an ADU on your property? Read On!


You Benefit as a Host/Homeowner

ADUs open a variety of opportunities. Homeowners who build ADUs increase the value of their property and have the opportunity to generate rental income. Older homeowners can downsize while staying on their property. Aging family members can live close to children or other relatives and retain independent space.

Your Community Benefits

Portland is experiencing a housing crisis, with some of the fastest rising rents and lowest vacancy rates in the nation. ADUs provide additional housing in existing urban spaces while retaining neighborhood characteristics.

Your Environment Benefits

  • Less carbon dioxide and other pollutants that cause climate change
  • Less greenhouse gas emissions from driving: ADUs reduce the need to drive in urban areas where walking, biking, and public transit are more convenient
  • Less natural resource consumption in the building process
  • Less energy needed to heat and cool ADUs (much smaller than standard size homes)

Join the Interest List

The “Small Backyard Homes Initiative” is working to make it easier and more affordable for Portlanders to build ADUs on their property. We are currently in the research and development phase, collecting names of interested property owners and will send updates about resources and opportunities as details progress.

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