The cost of rent has risen so quickly in San Francisco that Millennials have literally been forced to take extraordinary measures when it comes to their living situations.
According to The New York Times, some Bay Area residents have relocated to a popup village in Oakland made up entirely of shipping containers, in order to avoid the crippling costs of city living in nearby San Francisco.
The paper notes that for a mere $600 a month, residents of Containercopia can get a 160-square-foot metal box of their own, which can then be modified to include a glass window, electricity and its own bathroom.
While it might not be the most luxurious housing situation, for many young professionals in Northern California it is considered quite a bargain — considering the fact that average rents in the Bay Area have soared by more than 20% in the last year.
Luke Iseman and Heather Stewart, a couple who were previously renting a container in Containercopia, told the Times that the cost of renting in San Francisco just didn’t add up. Instead, they purchased a $2,300 shipping container from the nearby port, rented a half-acre of land and moved in, telling the paper:
“It’s pretty much my dream, post-apocalyptic, cyber punk set up. You have a watertight box that is way more structurally sound that you can possibly need. They have been stacked in hurricanes, in terms of a house they are way overkill.”
Containercopia hasn’t been without its issues, however. Iseman and Stewart were forced to move their home, along with a few extra containers they purchased with friends to rent to other young professionals, into a warehouse because the land wasn’t technically zoned for residential use. Currently, the Times notes, the lot is being used to grow vegetables for the “village.”
“If we can do it in one of the highest-cost places in the world, people can do this anywhere.”
According to Zumper.com, a online rental site, the cost of an average one-bedroom apartment in downtown San Francisco has soared in the past year to $3,500, much higher than the $3,100 average asking price in New York City.
Nor is living in shipping containers the only unorthodox method taken up by Bay Area residents struggling to cough up the money to rent a traditional apartment.
Despite working as a software engineer, Katharine Patterson just moved into “a 1969 VW camper van with a hole in the floor and a family of spiders that has more of a right to be here than I do.”
She recently wrote on Quartz.com:
“There are many people who are forced to live in their cars because they really cannot afford to live in the Bay Area. I am not technically one of them, and in doing this by choice I am inevitably appropriating their hardships.
However, I am also saving hard, trying to pay off my debts, and learning a few invaluable life skills—like carpentry and how to be a fairly competent mechanic—in the process.”
Another struggling Millennial, 23-year-old Sarah Carter, decided that it was more cost-effective to live on a boat she purchased off Craigslist for $9,600 earlier this month rather than rent an apartment. She told Business Insider:
“If I live there for five months, I’ll hit break-even on the rent of the apartments I was looking at. It really is a steal.”
It’s situations like this that could explain why more and more Millennials today find themselves living back at home with Mom and Dad after finishing college.