Airbnb co-founder’s new venture to build tiny backyard homes

Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia. AFP

More Americans are turning to converted garages or guest houses and multi-generational households are increasing as people cannot afford their own homes. Meanwhile, people working from home expect to have extra space away from the noise of children and other distractions. Joe Gebbia co-founded Airbnb Inc. to help people rent their homes to guests. Now his new venture aims to build tiny houses in the backyards of homes, according to the Wall Street Journal. This new venture, known as Samara, intends to sell factory-built one-bedroom and studio units to homeowners. This start-up seeks to take advantage of less restrictive laws and a growing demand for affordable housing, which has been spurred by soaring housing prices and rents.

Company Details:

Starting prices for Samara’s San Francisco Bay Area ADU Backyard line will range from $299,000 for 430-square-foot studios to $339,000 for 550-foot one-bedroom units. squares, according to the company. The company further said that Southern California homes will have slightly lower prices.

Initially, Samara will launch in California as it is one of the states that has eased restrictions on secondary suites (ADUs) in an effort to boost housing supply. California now allows homeowners to build ADUs in their backyards even if the homeowners association prohibits it.

The company takes its name from the fruit called Samara and plans to eventually expand beyond California. Samara is betting that the worsening housing shortage and the growing popularity of remote working will lead to an increase in the need for ADUs.

According to Gebbia, working from home at least once a week has fundamentally changed people’s relationship to their home.

Samara is not the first company to supply these tiny houses. According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the state granted nearly 20,000 building permits for ADUs in 2021, down from 12,520 in 2019 and just 1,160 in 2016.

Samara also faces a difficult economic environment. Construction costs in the country are high by historical standards. In addition, rising interest rates, inflation and a weaker housing market are reducing homeowners’ purchasing power.

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