There’s nothing quite like a grotesquely lopsided “economic recovery” in which a handful of cities boom, while the rest of the nation stagnates. Even worse, millennials living in such chosen cities face one of two options. Either live in mom and dad’s basement, or face a standard of living far more similar to 19th tenement standards than the late 1990’s tech boom.
With that out of the way, I want to introduce you to what a $1,000 per month rental in the San Francisco Bay area looks like. Shipping containers:
Don’t worry, there’s a lovely garden out back:
We learn more from Bloomberg:
Luke Iseman has figured out how to afford the San Francisco Bay area. He lives in a shipping container.
The Wharton School graduate’s 160-square-foot box has a camp stove and a shower made of old boat hulls. It’s one of 11 miniature residences inside a warehouse he leases across the Bay Bridge from the city, where his tenants share communal toilets and a sense of adventure. Legal? No, but he’s eluded code enforcers who rousted what he calls cargotopia from two other sites. If all goes according to plan, he’ll get a startup out of his response to the most expensive U.S. housing market.
“It’s not making us much money yet, but it allows us to live in the Bay Area, which is a feat,” said Iseman, 31, who’s developing a container-house business. “We have an opportunity here to create a new model for urban development that’s more sustainable, more affordable and more enjoyable.”
As many as 60,000 San Franciscans live in illegal housing, according to the Department of Building Inspection.
Iseman collects $1,000 a month for each of the 11 structures parked in the 17,000-square-foot warehouse he rents for $9,100. Tenants include a Facebook Inc. engineer, a SolarCity Corp. programmer and a bicycle messenger.
It’s not even San Francisco proper either, this is in Oakland. You could probably catch $2k per month for a cargo box in the Mission.
Iseman used to pay $4,200 a month in San Francisco’s Mission District for a two-bedroom apartment with a slanted floor and mosquito-breeding puddles.
He bought his metal box for $2,300, delivery included, then cut out windows with a plasma torch and installed a loft bed, shower and bamboo flooring. He estimates his all-in cost at $12,000, and plans to sell refashioned containers for about $20,000 through his company, Boxouse.
“What we’re doing is converting industrial waste into a house in a couple of weeks,” said Iseman, who also founded a pedicab fleet. Meanwhile, he doesn’t plan on seeking city approval for cargotopia, whose location he asked not be identified. “I’d rather ask forgiveness than ask permission.”
I want to be clear that I’m not knocking Mr. Iseman for starting this project. He seems to be a well-meaning, entrepreneurial guy trying to make the best out of a bad situation and solve a very real problem on his own. What I am knocking is the criminally corrupt American oligarchy, which left this legacy to our youth due to their unfathomable greed, cronyism and nearsightedness.
Of course, I’ve covered this trend several times over the past several years…