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Portland is ADU City, Baby

ADU City

I got a call a couple of weeks ago from a friend who I had not spoken with in a while. He was into a project and called for advice.

Three years ago we helped him purchase a home in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood for around $270,000. He recently re-financed and learned from his appraisal that his home has appreciated by at least $100,000. Now he wants to invest this equity into an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) in his back yard that he can rent out. He asked what I thought, so I crunched some numbers. By my calculations, he’ll be able to collect enough rent to cover his entire PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) payment each month–enabling him to live for free! Pretty good use for his home equity, wouldn’t you say?

The Tiny House Movement In Portland

In today’s Portland Business Journal, Mason Walker highlights five underlying reasons that are contributing to the “tiny house movement.” He cites: the ability to have these units tenant occupied; the robust “sharing economy in Portland (e.g. Airbnb); city planning permit incentives to increase urban density; our low housing inventory (which we’ve written about here often); and the minimalism movement. In addition, there’s the dramatic increase in rents and the ability to finance these projects with home equity and low mortgage interest rates. Naturally you can expect to see more and more ADUs springing up in your neighborhood.

ADU Tour

If this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, there are educational workshops and a tour of local ADUs this weekend. On Friday there is a workshop about design, financing and permitting. On Saturday there is a tour of 12 ADUs in NE Portland. On Sunday, the group will visit 13 SE Portland ADUs.

Let us know if you go. Even better, drop us a note to let us know what you learned.

Yes, ADUs make sense in the suburbs too. We are currently working with one of our preferred builders on a custom home build with an ADU in West Linn. With the increasing demand for dual master bedrooms on the main floor to accommodate multiple generations under one roof, a separate ADU unit is a great alternative that many buyers haven’t considered before. It’s a great solution for aging parents or family that you want to live with you, while everyone can maintain privacy in individual spaces. Whether or not you go to the ADU workshop or tour this weekend, we’re happy to share what we’ve learned.


portland tiny house



The Portland Home Team will be happy to answer questions, recommend neighborhoods and properties and ensure you find the home that meets your needs!

– Portland Home Team: Experience. Excellence.