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Accessory Dwelling Units Provide Value and Opportunity for Homeowners

By: Scott Allen, 360 Construction & Design

Housing in Alaska is a complex issue. While

everyone deserves the opportunity to become a homeowner, it’s becoming more difficult for some to achieve. This is due in part to the cost of building materials, increasing regulatory expenses and the lack of available land to develop in the municipality of Anchorage.

The homebuilding industry, in partnership with the Anchorage Home Builders Association, is working to address many of these problems. One issue which we have seen significant progress on is the regulations regarding accessory dwelling units, commonly called ADUs.

You are not alone if you are unfamiliar with the term ADU. Many people who say mother-in-law apartments are referring to ADUs. An ADU is an additional living unit, located on the same property as the original home. The structure must meet a certain set of criteria to qualify as an ADU. It needs a separate entrance, living space, kitchen, and bathroom. Several types of structures fall into this category including detached, attached, basement, above garage, and garage conversion.

ADUs provide a huge opportunity for builders, renters, homeowners, and the municipality of Anchorage. They are a very important tool for opening up more housing opportunities. The key is that they exist on land that is already developed. Utilities, such as water, sewer, well, and septic already exist, and land is ready for building. This cuts costs in a big way for everyone.

Homeowners may choose to build an ADU on their property for many reasons. They can serve as a workspace, guest suite, or home for aging parents or relatives. There is also the potential to use ADUs to earn passive rental income. Homeowners frequently use them as long-term or vacation rentals. However, before building an ADU for this purpose, check the rules of your neighborhood and community associations.

For homeowners looking to ADUs as an investment, they are more affordable than purchasing a second home on another property. An ADU has a much smaller economic and environmental footprint. Plus, they boost the value of your current land. Due to the land already being developed and operating under the same utility fees, they are more affordable to build. The typical smaller size also cuts costs with labor and materials. Therefore, they require fewer resources and use significantly less energy.

Anchorage officials recognize both the need and benefits of ADUs. City officials believe ADUs improve the affordability of homeownership by enhancing property values through rental income opportunities. They also see ADUs as an opportunity for elderly Alaskans, single parents, and others to remain in their homes while earning extra income or having a little help. This is why, in recent years, the municipality has adopted changes to local building codes, to make it easier for builders and homeowners to construct ADUs.

If you are interested in what an ADU could do for you, please call 360 Construction & Design. We would be happy to begin the process with you, and see what works best for your property, family goals, and neighborhood. We can answer questions about regulations, potential costs, and more. ADUs are an excellent addition to your property and financial goals.

Visit us at or call us at (907) 646-1403.


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