We write a lot about how expensive it is to rent in London on this site – we know that. The thing is that every time we think we’ve got to the point where the statistics have shocked us the most, something else happens. This week it was the news that rents charged on prime London real estate have broken through the £100 mark – that’s more than £100 PER DAY. The figures apply to two bedroom properties and come from property investment firm London Central Portfolio. The average for a prime property comes in at £707 a week – head for Notting Hill and it goes up to £768 and in Knightsbridge £848 a week. We all know about the lack of housing in the city and the issues there are with anyone getting on the property ladder but these price squeezes are coming from a different source – the large influx of foreign students, as well as corporate renters, both of whom are in the market for smaller properties in better areas.
However, you might think that London is expensive but at least you get a solid roof over your head for your money here (most of the time). The city of San Francisco has some similar rental issues to London in that an influx of people to the city has pushed figures through the ceiling. This time it’s the large numbers of technology workers with enormous pay cheques to burn from the likes of Google, Facebook and Apple. One man’s ingenious solution to this problem has been to offer accommodation that’s er… unique to say the least: a tent.
With average rents in San Francisco up around the £2,800 a month mark for a two bedroom flat, the tent is a snip at just £600. The ad for the canvas accommodation was initially posted on Airbnb by ‘John’ who did it as a joke, asking $20 a night for it. He didn’t, of course, expect anyone to take up his offer of a night under canvas in his parent’s back yard in Silicone Valley, but they did – at which point he promptly doubled the price to $46 a night. When interviewed by CNBC, John said “Because we’re in Mountain View, next to a lot of jobs and train tracks that people use to travel to San Francisco, you can get a lot of money renting anything here.” Note the use of the word ‘anything.’ Some of those who have stayed in John’s tent have been people who have been moving to Silicon Valley and looking for somewhere temporary while seeking out permanent accommodation. For anyone who might be interested, in addition to the tent you also get breakfast, a sleeping bag to keep you warm, and you can use the bathroom in the house. Which is more than you may get from some of the properties that are on the market thanks to some of the worst of London’s landlords…
So, is this the way that renting is going in the UK? Well, we hope that things won’t reach such an extreme. But if it does we’re sure there are plenty of enterprising Johns who will step up.