PodcastConsumer and Home Design Trends

Sheri Koones on What We Do with ADUs

Dean Wehrli
Shelly Chen

Dean Wehrli

Shelly Chen

July 1, 2022

Matt Damon was onto something in the movie Downsizing. Housing shortages, sky high prices—what’s someone without Matt Damon’s crypto money to do? Maybe you go small. Before we resort to shrinking people and entire cities in order to save on costs, let us have a listen to this week’s episode with Sheri Koones. Sheri is a journalist and author of numerous books related to smaller living. In this podcast episode, she explains what accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are and why they have increased in popularity in tandem with the small home movement. Keep reading below for some of her key points.

Featured guest

Sheri Koones, Best-Selling Author and Journalist

What is an ADU?

  • ADU is a large umbrella term used to describe many forms of independent housing units, usually with a separate entrance, that are built as add-ons or extensions of a main house.
  • These could be stand-alone structures built in a backyard, units above garages, or units built attached to a main house.


  • For some—like those who don’t need much space, caretakers, and in-laws—ADUs are a practical space solution.
  • They also allow homeowners to easily expand the size of their home without buying or renting a larger home.
  • ADUs are flexible, for instance, they can be used as guest suites or home offices.
  • ADUs and small home practicality is maximized with multipurpose rooms and multifunctional furniture.


  • ADUs are an excellent rental option for singles and couples who need affordable housing options.
  • ADUs are most prominent in markets with housing shortages and expensive urban centers.
  • Conversely, smaller homes can even allow users to live in luxury at a fraction of the cost. Money saved on square footage can be used for higher-end finishes and nicer appliances.
  • favorable demographics over the next 10 to 20 years.


  • ADUs are a way we can seamlessly increase housing supply by integrating new units into existing neighborhoods. Many well-positioned ADUs can easily go unnoticed, even in the suburbs.
  • ADUs take advantage of underutilized space in the tightest housing markets.

Want to Subscribe to the New Home Insights Podcast?

The New Home Insights Podcast is available on all major podcast platforms. Click any of the platforms below to subscribe.

Building Market Intelligence™

Every week, we deliver analysis to over 40,000 subscribers with our Building Market Intelligence™ newsletter. Subscribe to our weekly BMI newsletters to stay current on pressing topics in the housing industry.

About The Author

Dean Wehrli
Dean Wehrli
Dean helps housing sector clients figure out not just what might work and what might not, but why.
Shelly Chen
Shelly Chen
Research Analyst II, For-Sale
Shelly is responsible for working on various research projects as it relates to residential for-sale, including supporting our Burns Home Builder Analysis and Forecast report.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about our services or if you would like to speak to one of our experts about we can help your business, please contact Client Relations at clientservices@jbrec.com.

Products and Services Mentioned

green check icon

New Home Insights Podcast

Issues, interviews, and insights into the U.S. housing market. Monthly takes on what’s happening in the housing market today, and what might be happening tomorrow.
green check icon

Research Membership

Our research services enable our clients to gauge housing market conditions and better align their business and strategic investments in the housing industry. We provide a thoughtful and unique holistic approach of both quantitative and qualitative analysis to help clients make informed housing investment decisions.
green check icon

Real Estate Consulting

Our experienced team of consultants helps clients make sound housing investment decisions. We thrive on their success and work with many clients over multiple years and numerous projects.

Latest Insights

Dear Consultant: Will BTR Rent Growth Outpace Apartment Rent Growth Over Time?
The Death of the Hallway (and Other Design Trends) 
Homebuyers Have Never Been More Creditworthy