In December 2021, the housing market in California will be worth $9.24 trillion, making it the most valuable in the country. Considering these statistics, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) pays special attention to developing building codes, policies, and regulations for homeowners and developers alike.

And, after the signing of AB 68, AB 881, and SB 13, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) have gained a lot of traction as a potential solution for the housing crisis in California. In fact, the government of California has been relaxing the requirements for ADU construction in 2020 and 2021. So, having your very own ADU isn’t as out of reach as it once was.

However, once you determine the new California laws and other necessary details, it’s time to consider the “average cost of ADU”. In the following guide, we help in providing the answers to all your questions regarding additional dwelling unit permit cost, ADU cost per square foot and garage ADU conversion cost, and others. Additionally, you can also estimate the cost through the ADU cost calculator by entering the total square footage and property’s value per square foot. So, let’s break down the cost of ADU.

At Lux Construction Group, we’re helping dozens of Los Angeles house owners assess the feasibility of adding an ADU to their properties. If you’re planning on adding any kind of ADU to your property, you probably want to know in detail about it, including its estimated cost.

What Are The New California ADU Laws?

As we discussed above, California has removed several restrictions around building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in 2020 and 2021 to promote ADU construction further.

Here are the following new laws of California:

Ease The Size, Lot, & Setback Requirements

Local governments can no longer place restrictions on building ADUs, such as lot coverage requirements, minimum lot sizes, etc. No matter the size of your lot, you can now build an ADU that is at least 800 square feet and a JADU (junior accessory dwelling unit), which is less than 500 square feet and attached to the primary home.

Additionally, parts of multifamily structures not used as living space, such as storage rooms and garages, can serve as ADUs. Some setbacks are now no longer required or are limited to four feet, creating more buildable space. However, fire code setbacks remain the same.

Fees Removed or Lowered

Local agencies, special districts, and water companies no longer impose impact fees on ADUs that are smaller than 750 square feet. A developer must pay an impact fee to offset the impact on public infrastructure resulting from the development of a single-family home. In California, the impact fee is estimated to be more than $23,000. An ADU larger than 750 square feet must be charged proportionately based on the square footage of the main home and the space of the ADU.

More Financial Aid

Local housing agencies must now establish plans that encourage and support the development of ADUs for low- and moderate-income housing. As well as maintaining a list of state grants and other financial incentives to assist in the planning, building, and operation of affordable ADUs, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) developed a list of grant programs.

Being a resident of California and its cities, you must be aware of all new laws and rules for constructing an ADU. For more information, you can reach our professional contractors. We give a detailed description of ADU costs and other necessary information that helps in constructing your ADU building.

No Owner Occupancy Required

It’s no longer necessary to live in either the primary home or the ADU itself to build one. This is a significant change for landlords and investors as they can now apply for ADUs for their rental properties. Owner occupancy restrictions will not apply to ADUs approved before January 1, 2025.

Homeowners Association Restrictions Eliminated

Whether the ADU is allowed or prohibited by your homeowners’ association, you’re now able to build and rent out an ADU on your lot if it’s zoned for single-family residential use. ADUs can also be built in a historic district or if the primary home is a historic building.

Easier and Faster Permitting

Individual and multifamily permits must now be approved or denied within 60 days, rather than 120 days previously. As a result of statewide standard guidelines, the approval process is also easier.

Parking Requirements Reduced

You don’t need to provide a replacement parking space if you build an ADU in an existing garage, carport, or other parking structure. ADU parking standards also do not apply if the unit is a part of a primary residence or in a historic district, for example, or if it is within half a mile of public transportation.

How Much Does an ADU Permit Cost in Los Angeles, CA?

Generally, the cost of an ADU permit includes a plan check fee and a final permit fee while evaluating the price in Los Angeles and other surrounding areas of California. The plan check fee can start from $800 and go high up to $1,800 or more, depending on the city. Whereas, the final permit fee can cost anywhere from $1,200 to over $14,000, depending on the city.

Click here to check the fee for a permit in Los Angeles.

So, we always suggest checking with your construction company to get a better understanding of the total cost. But, these costs can increase exponentially. Getting the right permits may seem a hassle, but this is also necessary. Therefore, you need to qualify all zoning legislation, bylaws, and Los Angeles Ordinance.

Accessory dwelling units generally cost between $800 to $14,000 or more in Los Angeles. And, the average ADU permit cost in California is $1,200 according to the national guidelines. This construction cost is often determined by how much is being constructed and how many square feet are involved.

You would pay less to build a simple studio apartment in your garage than you would if you built a new, luxurious 1200 square foot ADU in your garage.

Here we mention in detail the ADU permit cost in Los Angeles with an example:

Garage Conversion Permit Cost In Los Angeles

ADU Permit Cost Los Angeles

If you’re simply applying for a permit to convert your existing garage, it’ll cost approximately $1,800. If you’re applying for a permit in Los Angeles, you must set a dollar amount for the work of the permit. Taking this estimate into account, they figure out how much a permit will cost. Permitting costs are directly related to construction costs.

You should be aware that the estimated cost you enter when applying for the permit will get reviewed after you submit your application. In other words, you cannot state on an application that the garage conversion is only going to cost $10,000 for all labor and materials to convert from a garage to a dwelling unit. But, this could reach up to $50,000.

If you’re planning to add new square footage that is 300 square feet, you’ll pay a plan check fee, permit fee, development fee, and a bunch of other development taxes. Converting a garage into an ADU required some ideas and pre-planning. Here is the ADU construction checklist that can help you.

Detached ADU Permit Cost Los Angeles

Here, you’re maximizing the amount of new square footage that could be 1,200 square feet according to the City of Los Angeles ADU ordinance. This permit will cost approximately $8,000.

For adding new square footage that is 1,200, you need to pay all the fees while performing garage conversion. However, since your new ADU is over 500 sq ft, you’ll also be required to pay a School District Fee and an Energy Surcharge.

How Much Does an ADU Cost in Los Angeles?

ADU Construction Cost Los Angeles

The most prominent question that usually people ask when considering a new ADU is the cost of building an ADU.

Before making a final decision for constructing an ADU, we here suggest you spend time and make thorough research over money planning an ADU to not make it more expensive.

An ADU will cost anywhere between $60,000 and $400,000 or more, depending on the size and design of the ADU. The final ADU cost depends on several costs such as the type of ADU (Attached, detached, garage conversion, or others), the building site accessibility, and the material quality. Other than this, the overall cost also depends on amenities such as electricity, plumbing, cooling and heating, internet, and a foundation. Additionally, it also relies on – how many rooms, bathrooms, or bedrooms does your ADU contain?

In the following section, we’ll mention in detail the ADU type cost, so you can understand a typical ADU budget.

Note: The below-mentioned cost is based on all the above-mentioned factors.

The Cost Of Building Different Types of ADUs

Want to know the estimated cost of different types of ADU? Let’s have a look at the cost of different types of ADUs.

Attached ADU Cost in Los Angeles

An attached ADU is an addition, which is connected to the home. And, it contains a kitchen, bathroom, and everything else that a home needs.

These types of structures may be built up to 1200 square feet ADU and up to 16 feet in height. It also needs a shared wall on the interior.

So, how much does it cost?

The general cost of the attached ADU lies between $100,000 to $250,000, depending on location, square footage, material choice, and other various parameters.

Detached ADU Cost Los Angeles

A detached ADU is completely the opposite of an attached ADU. There isn’t any shared wall as it’s fully separate. In California, many people prefer detached ADU due to more private space. However, detached ADUs are quite expensive as they’re constructed from the ground up.

The cost of a detached ADU starts from 110,000 and rises up to $300,000, depending on design requirements, square footage, and other things you need to install in your detached room.

A case study of a detached 2-story ADU complete with two bedrooms and 1.5 baths ran a staggering $361,358.

Garage Conversion ADU Cost

If your garage is free and you’re not using your garage, you can also insulate your garage and turn that space into a small residence. Well, it’s quite overwhelming to encompass everything you need for living space within a garage area. But, this is also a cost-effective way to build an ADU. Before going further you must see the garage conversion requirements in Los Angeles.

The newest ADU construction can range between $100,000 to $350,000, depending on location, square footage, size, and other parameters. On the contrary, the average cost of a garage conversion starts from a reasonable price i.e. $80,000, and goes up to $150,000.

Above Garage ADU Cost

The meaning of the above garage ADU is to add a second story ADU above the garage or stand a new structure for increasing the living space.

If your home is already equipped with a garage, this is an excellent option to construct a new space above the garage without adding any extra square footage.

The rough cost of the above garage ADU ranges between $60,000 to $350,000 or more, depending on the size of the garage and other factors.

Basement ADU Cost

Basement ADU is all about creating an underground space for families. Remodeling and cost of a basement depend on the layout, whether framing and drywall are needed, materials, labor, size, and other various parameters.

The average cost of a basement structure in 2023 ranges from $9,000 to $40,000. Even some homeowners are spending between $12,000 to $70,000. And it could go high up to $400,000, depending on personal requirements and other things you want to install in your kitchen, bathroom, and any other room that you have built.

If you’re planning to consider other factors, you might have additional costs for these, whether it’s architectural design, site preparation costs, system upgrades, or interior finishes. On average, building costs range between $100 and $500 per square foot and interior finishes cost around 10 to 50% of your initial investment.

To know more about ADU cost and its related other information, please visit our website LUX Construction Group. We’ll help in every possible way to assist you.

ADU Cost Per Square Foot in Los Angeles

The average cost of ADU per square foot ranges between $300 to $500, depending on location and material used.

And, the ADU prices of California are similar to the prices of its cities, such as Los Angeles and San Diego. There might be some difference in cost between these cities, but not a big difference.

Sometimes, the accessory dwelling unit might scare people due to the high price tag. But, here we mention some effective ways to assess your investment.

Check your neighborhood’s median ADU cost per square foot. In Los Angeles, the median home costs $800 per square foot.

If you’re building a 550 square foot unit in Los Angeles, it’ll cost around $400 a square foot.

Approximately, your overall ADU project costs between $200,000 to $300,000. However, it’ll further increase your home value up to $400,000 or more.

Even renting out a 1-bedroom ADU apartment for a month costs $2500 per month. Hence, it’s a good way to earn more money.

There could be hidden costs in your total ADU budget, such as site work, interior finishes, utility upgrades, and a protracted construction timeline. So, we recommend here to talk to your contractors to provide a detailed cost budget. This way you’ll get a clear picture of – where you have to spend more and where to not.

How to Minimize the Cost of ADU?

Here are the following ways to minimize the cost of an ADU. Let’s have a look at the following tips:

Choose Pre-Designed

Generally, customized architectural plans come up with high prices. In order to reduce costs, you can start with a pre-designed ADU. You can still modify your exterior and interior designs according to your preferences.

Pick Materials With Care

Always look for materials that are available at an affordable cost but don’t compromise on quality. For example, a luxurious granite countertop is more affordable than others. And, try to pick a standard size rather than custom designs.

Make Smart Utility Choices

Install smart electric devices like solar panels and natural gas. These are considered attractive options.

Consider Potential Sweat Equity Savings

Many homeowners try to reduce ADU costs by doing some of the work themselves, such as painting or landscaping. However, sweat equity is easy to overestimate. Acquiring specialty tools also adds to the cost. However, hiring an experienced general contractor for ADU makes the process more efficient and saves time.

Let’s Estimate the Cost With Our Professionals!

Get a free property-specific ADU report on LUX Construction Group to find out if you qualify for an ADU, browse ADU designs, and connect with a contractor today. We’ll help in providing appropriate information and details about your ADU project with the right cost estimation, so you keep yourself free from spending extra thousands of dollars.

After all, adding ADU is an excellent way to increase the overall value of your house. According to a guide by Rost Architects, an ADU built for $250-300K can increase the resale value of a property by approximately $600K in California. This would be a great return on investment if it takes 12-14 months to permit and build the ADU.”

So, get a free estimation over cost and give your home a new look!