SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The newest solution in the struggle for affordable Bay Area housing may be found in your own backyard.

Limeio Daniel is part of a booming trend — building a granny unit in her San Jose backyard to eventually rent out.

“I was thinking, with this property sitting vacant right here, I can generate some income and this can be my retirement home too,” she told KPIX while showing her backyard construction project.

Her property in midtown San Jose appears to be a perfect fit. Daniel’s 9,100 square foot lot leaves plenty of room for a 600-square foot, one-bedroom tiny house. It features an open floor play with a living room, condo-sized kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

It even has a laundry area.

Daniel says she doesn’t miss her backyard.

“You know how many times we come out into the empty yard a year? Like 3 or 4 times,” she said.

The numbers tell the story. In the Bay Area and in Southern California, as cities ease building codes, granny units are booming. The number under construction in Oakland has more than doubled. In San Jose it has tripled.

“Tech workers here, they cannot afford to buy a house,” Daniel said. “Or buy a unit. And we’re sitting with this empty lot and not fully utilizing it. I think it can actually be a help, a solution for our Valley’s crisis.”

Daniel’s granny unit is costing $100,000 to build and she says she already has people lining up to rent it for $2,000 a month. It should be paid off in five years.


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