Houston Hopes More Homeowners Will Embrace Housing Literally in Their Backyard

Blog post by Matt Dulin
January 4, 2022

Kinder Institute for Urban Research   (Houston)

The city already has thousands of units of accessory housing, but there is potential for much more. According to the city’s estimates, Houston is home to around 3,600 garage apartments, but that’s just one kind of ADU. There are other detached buildings that could fall under this definition. 

With the help of our Urban Data Platform team and the recently released 2020 Harris County Appraisal District dataset, we identified 5,300 potential detached residential dwellings located alongside single-family homes in Houston. 

There is a lot to like about accessory dwelling units—garage apartments, in-law cottages, granny flats—as a form of housing. Done well, ADUs can help meet the needs for multigenerational families, workers and students, and they offer a gentler form of infill density in urban neighborhoods. They can also provide a source of income and build wealth for the homeowners who choose to build them. What will it take to spark a “backyard revolution” in Houston?