On November 21st, 2023, New York City officials announced a program that would give 15 owners of single-family homes up to $400,000 each to build detached units or retrofit basements. Making it easier to build basements, cottages and other extra units has become an attractive way to encourage development in states and cities dealing with high housing costs.

Supporters say the model helps homeowners earn money and can be great for older people trying to find affordable places near their families, which is why the units are often called “granny flats.”

But complicated regulations make them costly to build and maintain in New York City at least legally, said Howard Slatkin, executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, a nonprofit advocacy group.

While most people might think of New York City as a dense place with big apartment buildings, lower-density neighborhoods make up more than half of the city’s land, Mr. Slatkin said.

That’s why the program seems promising, he said. It “helps ordinary homeowners who don’t have the kind of access to capital that a builder on their own might have,” he said.

“This is the way that you can produce housing at a relatively low cost,” he said.

Read more at The New York Times.


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