I couldn’t help, but notice this article about a tent renting for $900 on AirBNB. It’s not that someone is just crazy enough to list it at that price, people are actually paying it.
According to the article, you get a tent in a backyard with access to shower and can eat inside. It wasn’t quite clear if you are allowed to use the kitchen to cook. I tried to find the particular listing and the closest I found as this this tent, but the name and price is different, so maybe it is a copycat.
So who is going to pay $900 a month for a tent in backyard? It wasn’t long ago we were renting a 2 bed, 2 bath, 1200 sq. ft townhouse about 40 miles from Boston for that money. Well this tent is in Silicon Valley… very close to Google’s headquarters. And as long as it includes a parking spot, is really ideal commuting location to hundreds of businesses that are paying six-figure salaries.
The real estate market out there has always been out of control. When we lived there, we found it a much better deal to rent. In September of 2006, I wrote about a 2 bed/1.5 bath, 1650 sq. ft home a few streets away from us. The price was $1.125M.
Of course a housing crash has happened. In New England, I’d say that most homes have not caught back up to their 2006 pricing. From a sampling of properties that I am familiar with, I’d say they are still down 20-25% from there.
Today, the same house that was 1.125 in Sept. 2006 has a Zillow Zestimate of over 1.5M. So while prices where I live now have dropped 20-25%, they’ve gone up 25% down there. The sample sizes here are tiny, but it’s consistent with what I’ve seen.
So while the idea of a $900/mo. tent seems extremely crazy the real estate market out there, almost makes it somewhat viable. My experience is that if you are working at Google or Facebook the expectation is that you essentially live on “campus” anyway. Maybe you don’t need much more than a tent for the rare 5-6 hours that you want to “get away from work?”
Usually when I see prices get beyond comprehension there’s a crash. Almost every fiber of my being believes something like that is coming soon. There’s got to be a way to get cheaper talent in other areas of the country without offering $200K salaries so that everyone can afford shacks that run 1.5M dollars.
However, I asked a friend who has been in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years about a crash. She says she’s never seen a significant one. In her opinion, things will just reach a peak and either slowly deflate or just stay stagnant for awhile. I could see that scenario as well.
In the meantime, if you live there and have the space, why not put up a tent? It’s probably not a lot of work for an extra $10,000 a year.