House prices these days are ridiculous, especially if you are a single professional living in a larger city.
I live in a beautiful studio apartment on the West Hollywood-Hollywood border. My neighborhood has a Walk Score of 92. The best nightlife Hollywood has to offer and the famous Walk of Fame are just minutes away from my front door.
My building is an older one in a premium location, and my apartment was completely gutted and refurbished the month before I moved in. It has a picture window; beautiful, dark laminate floors; a full-sized kitchen with stainless steel appliances; an enormous closet for all my clothing, shoes and purses; and a beautiful vanity area with a built-in makeup mirror that I love.
It has a breakfast bar and a built-in wine rack, and enough space in the open floor plan to fit my queen-sized bed, my writing desk, two large bookcases, a TV stand and my sofa, which is 7 feet long. The rent, including my two parking spaces, is just under $1,500 a month. This part of Hollywood is under rent control, so my rent can never be raised more than 3 percent a year (pdf).
There are people out there paying a whole lot more for a whole lot less, and I would not want to trade places with them.
For example, the New York Times reports that there are adults in San Francisco paying $1,400 to $2,400 to live in dormitory-style units where they get a fully furnished 130- to 240-square-foot bedroom with Wi-Fi and utilities included. They share communal bathrooms and kitchens, just like in college.
Except these are not college students. These are working adults who make from $40,000 to $90,000 a year and range in age from their early 20s to their early 50s.
Starcity, the development company renting the units, offers premium services for additional fees, such as a laundry service for $40 a month and room cleaning for $130 a week.
It sounds crazy, but the people interviewed by the Times say they love it, and it is a much easier situation than paying normal San Francisco rents, where one-bedroom apartments go for an average of $3,300 a month.
In New York City, WeWork—the popular co-working-space company—now has WeLive, through which it rents fully furnished studio apartments for $3,250 a month plus utilities.
Starcity currently has three properties with 36 units open. It has plans to open nine more, and the company’s waiting list already has 8,000 people on it.
Imagine being on a waiting list to pay that much rent and having to share a bathroom.
Like I said, I’m thankful for my rent-controlled apartment in Hollywood. I am very fortunate to have the deal that I have, and I am never moving.