Tag Archives: high rent

The “Rental Affordability Crisis” Explained In Three Charts

Four years ago, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) warned of “the worst rental affordability crisis ever,” citing data that:

“About half of renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent, up from 18% a decade ago, according to newly released research by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Twenty-seven percent of renters are paying more than half of their income on rent.”

This is a significant problem for US consumers, and especially millennials, because as we have noted repeatedly over the past year, and a new report confirms, “rent increases continue to outpace workers’ wage growth, meaning the situation is getting worse.”

In the second quarter of 2017, median asking rents jumped 5% from $864 to $910. In the first half of 2018, they have remained at levels crushing the American worker.


While the surge in median asking rents has triggered an affordability crisis, new data now shows just how much a person must make per month to afford rent.

According to HowMuch.Net, an American should budget 25% to 30% of monthly income for rent, but as shown by the New Deal Democrat, workers are budgeting about 50% more of their salaries than a decade earlier. The report specifically looked at the nation’s capital, where a person must make approximately $8,500 per month to afford rent.


In California, the state with the largest housing bubble, the monthly income to afford rent is roughly $8,300, followed by Hawaii at $7,800 and New York at $7,220.


In contrast, the Rust Belt and the Southeastern region of the United States, one needs to make only $3,500 per month to afford rent.

“Based on the rule of applying no more than one-third of income to housing, people living in the Northeast must earn at least twice as much as those living in the South just to afford rent for what each market considers an average home,” HowMuch.net’s Raul Amoros told MarketWatch.

Which, however, is not to say that owning a house is a viable alternative to renting. In fact, as Goldman notes in its latest Housing and Mortgage Monitor, “buying is looking increasingly less affordable vs. renting with home prices growing faster than rents.”


In short: the situation is not likely to improve in the short-term.

A sign of relief could be coming in the second half of 2019 or entering into 2020 when the US economy is expected to enter a slowdown, if not outright recession. This would reverse the real estate market, thus providing a turning point in rents that would give renters relief after a near decade of overinflated prices.

Source: ZeroHedge

‘Rent-For-Sex’: How Landlords Exploit Broke Millennials


It is now time to sound the alarm bells on the economic prospects for the Millennial Generation in the Western world, but more importantly, in the United Kingdom. This generation of citizens aged 18 to 36, is the first in modern developed economies on course to have a lower standard of living than their parents.

Housing affordability and a decaying job environment are some of the most pressing issues affecting Millennials. The future is bleak for this avocado and toast generation, as Western world economies have likely plateaued regarding economic growth. Surging debt and rising government bond yields are producing an environment that could lead to more hardships for this lost generation.

Landlords in the United Kingdom have taken full advantage of broke Millennials by offering “adult arrangements” for a roof over their heads. Yes, you heard this correctly, Millennials are trading sex for a place to sleep — unearthed in a new documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which provides a chilling insight into just how bad the Millennial generation has it.

BBC reporter Ellie Flynn went undercover to expose the scale of the ‘Rent For Sex’ issue in the United Kingdom, in which landlords on Craigslist are advertising “free” accommodation in exchange for sexual acts.

Ellie portrayed herself as a broke, 24-year-old nursing student with very little alternatives. She confronted one man in a Newcastle cafe who defended his actions and told cameras: “I’m not doing anything wrong… it’s not just about sex, it’s about companionship.


“BBC Three’s Ellie Undercover: Rent For Sex also met up with a landlord who had built a log cabin in his garden where tenants could sleep if the agreed to have sex in return for a ‘physical arrangement once a week,” the Daily Mail reported.


“The man offers to show Ellie around after saying: ‘That’s where you sleep, it’s a log cabin, alright,” the Daily Mail reported.


He later denied knowing the practice of asking for sex in exchange for housing is a serious offense in the United Kingdom, saying: “I don’t know, I can’t truthfully answer that .”

One landlord put Ellie in touch with a former tenant who told of “how he tried touching her while she was staying rent-free with him,” said the Daily Mail.

“I would just feel almost paralyzed every time he tried to touch me but he didn’t force himself on me,” said the unnamed woman.


The woman added: “The idea of consent gets mashed up because a woman thinks this is the exchange I have to give this man in order for me to have a roof over my head.”

In fact, the number of listings on Craigslist and social media websites offering rent for sex is exploding. Latest figures from the Housing Charity Shelter are absolutely mind-numbing, more than 250,000 women over the last five years have been asked for “adult arrangements” in exchange for housing.

UK Millennials lack a living wage, therefore, this generation sees nothing wrong in offering their bodies to landlords for a roof over their heads. Apparently, the smartest generation to ever step foot on planet earth is the first generation since the 1950s to fail to do better than their parents, as this chart shows:


The home ownership rate for UK Millennials is so low that these levels have not been seen since World War I:


According to the Office for National Statistics, millennials have largely been priced out of the real estate market as prices soar above 2008 levels.


Over the same period of rising real estate prices, UK Millennials have dealt with stagnating wages:


Real estate price increases and low personal savings rate for U.K. Millennials have been mostly fueled by low-interest rates, set by the Bank of England (BoE). Some ten years ago, the BoE decided to juice the economy by suppressing UK lending rates to a zero lower bound with cheap money after the 2008 crisis:


“In our society, it seems acceptable for people to wield their power over the vulnerable in order to get what they want, no questions asked,” explains Ellen Moran of Acorn, a tenants union and anti-poverty group.

“That power is entrenched and such actions are ignored by law enforcers. Sometimes, though, this happens because people are alienated in their society to such an extent that they crave physical affection without knowing considerate ways to get it. Sometimes it is a mixture of those two things,” she added.

Unfortunately, the ‘Rent For Sex’ issue in the United Kingdom will only get worse as the economic prospects continue to deteriorate for the Millennial generation. There is no end in sight for this madness, and it will only be a matter of time before this trend washes up on the shores of the United States. It seems as failed Central Bank policy has given landlords one new perk to owning real estate: sex with millennials.

Source: ZeroHedge

“We Don’t Belong Here Anymore” – Even Landlords Are Fleeing The Bay Area

Peter Thiel and his band of libertarian-leaning Silicon Valley-types aren’t the only ones scrambling to leave the Bay Area: As we’ve noted time and time again, staggering economic inequality is a daily fact of life in the area surrounding San Francisco – largely because rapidly growing home valuations have left couples earning as much as $500,00 a year feeling like they’re being steadily priced out.

And while we’ve previously covered the exodus of renters to low-cost states like Texas, in a report published Saturday, the East Bay Times explores an even more troubling trend: Landlords are increasingly taking the cue from their tenants and joining in the exodus.

After all, with one in four US homes sold during 2017 going for more than $500,000 above their asking – particularly in hot real-estate markets like San Francisco, where buyers battling for the highest bid have begun relying on clauses that will automatically – and incrementally  – raise their bids until they either emerge victorious, or reach a predetermined ceiling.

For at least the last nine months, the Bay Area has led the country in the number of departing residents, as everybody who isn’t a tech worker – including essential civil servants like police and fire fighters – begins to feel like a secondary servile class. One landlord said several of his tenants asked if they could move with him when he announced he was selling the building and departing for Colorado

Tony Hicks moved to San Jose in 1981, but he’s had enough.

Hicks told his 11 tenants he would soon place the three homes he owns on the market. He expected disappointment. Instead, most wanted to move with him to Colorado.

“It didn’t take them long,” Hicks said. “I was surprised.”

Hicks first bonded with many of his tenants over their shared appreciation for conservative politics in an environment that is openly hostile to views that don’t conform to the dominant neoliberal ideology.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” said Dan Harvey, 60, a retiree in one of Hicks’ rentals who is concerned about the traffic he fights on his Harley Davidson and the high cost of living. “A fresh start.”

Rising prices, high taxes and his suspicion that the next big earthquake is just a few tremors away convinced the retired engineer to put his South San Jose properties up for sale.

The groundswell to leave Silicon Valley — the place of fortunes, world-changing tech and $2,500 a-month-garage apartments — has been building. For at least the last nine months, the San Francisco metro area has led the nation in the number of residents moving out, according to a survey by online brokerage Redfin.

San Jose real estate agent Sandy Jamison has seen many long-time residents and natives leave the state recently. The lack of available housing, leading to some of the priciest real estate in the country, is driving many from the region, she said.

The landlord and tenants came together through Hick’s rental ads on Craigslist and in the newspaper over the last two decades. They grew close with common bonds of conservative politics, religious faith and motorcycles.

It’s an unlikely collection of 10 men and one woman — a retired engineer, a few military veterans, blue collar workers and others on fixed incomes. Few say they could afford to go it alone in the sky-high housing market in San Jose, where a typical two bedroom rents for about $2,500 a month, far more than what they pay Hicks.

Most of the men are divorced, widowed or never married, and many suffer from health ailments and a crankiness exacerbated by Bay Area traffic, crowding and the state’s liberal policies on crime and immigration.

Hicks, 58, was an engineer and marketing executive at IBM, Xerox and other companies before retiring in his early 40s to raise his daughter from his first marriage.

He bought a few investment properties in South San Jose, and looked for long-term returns when he sold them. He kept rents low — between $500 to $1,200 a month for one bedroom — and never raised prices once a tenant signed a lease.

Many of his tenants have been with him for more than a decade.

“We became brothers,” said Mike Leyva. The 64-year-old Army veteran and retiree signed a lease in 2004 and never left.

And Hicks and his compatriots aren’t alone – not by a long shot: A five-county poll conducted for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the East Bay Times found that more than one-third of Bay Area apartment renters and one-quarter of residents in their 20s and 30s say they are struggling to afford their housing.

Many longtime residents also describe a feeling of alienation that seemed to accompany the tech boom.

According to one real estate agent, the top reasons people leave the Bay Area are as follows: high taxes, cost of living, quality of life from traffic to homelessness, politics and high housing prices. For many long-time residents, she said, “they feel like they don’t belong here any more.”

For Hicks, lofty real estate valuations were the last incentive he needed.

In recent years, Hicks began to believe there was a better life outside the valley.

Vaulting real estate prices added incentive. He kept up on tax laws that could maximize the returns on his property. Selling his San Jose rental houses and buying new properties with the proceeds would allow him to defer taxes. “It’s a great financial move,” he said.

Hicks was also moved by discussions with his pastor and sermons at his church, the Vietnamese Living Word Community Church, about Biblical journeys.  His spiritual beliefs guided him to his decision to move with his new wife, Fidessa, 31, and her 8-year-old daughter.  

Cautiously, he broke the news to his friends.

“I was totally shocked,” Leyva said. “I thought he was joking me. I had a lot of questions about it.”

The tenants who are accompanying Hicks expect to save hundreds of dollars a month in rent when they relocated to Colorado…


Levya spent two days researching the move and became convinced. He expects to slash his rent from $1,200 to about $800 a month, with more room in a newer home bought by Hicks. “I’m excited,” Leyva said. “It’s going to be a new journey in my life.”

Ed Blomgren, 70, pays $495 a month for one bedroom and a shared bathroom. The retired machinist, a Navy veteran, lives on a fixed income and couldn’t afford market-rate rent.

Blomgren grew up in Colorado, and he welcomes a chance to return to his home state, where he still has family. “At my age,” he said, “I think it might be a good thing.”

After he finishes selling off his portfolio of Bay Area propterties, Hicks expects to get a much bigger bang for his buck when he buys a new home in Colorado. The median home value in Colorado Springs is $263,000, compared with $1 million for a single family home in San Jose, according to real estate website Zillow.

Hicks’ plan, as it stands, is to sell all three homes and buy a half-dozen newer, bigger and cheaper homes in the smaller, mountain town that’s home to the US Air Force Academy.

Within a day of listing his Raposa Court home, Hicks had two offers in hand that – like most sales in the area – were well above his $1 million asking price…

Rents Increase In 89% Of Largest US Cities

The number of US renters is growing much more rapidly than the number of homeowners, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that rents in the vast majority of American cities climbed again last month – continuing a trend that has largely persisted since the financial crisis, according to data compiled by RentCafe, a website that provides rental listings nationwide. RentCafe occasionally analyzes the reams of data it collects to provide insightful clues about the US housing market. And as markets puked following a robust headline increase in average hourly earnings – one of the first signs that stagnant consumer prices might once again rise – RC’s latest report shows that the national average rent was $1,361, 2.8% higher than this time last year, but flat on a monthly basis.

Nearly 90% of the nation’s biggest cities have seen rents grow in January; in 9% of cities rents remained unchanged, while only 2% experienced price declines…

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, it was actually America’s smaller cities that saw the greatest increases (to be sure, that’s probably because markets like San Francisco are already well past the boundaries of what typical middle-class workers can afford). These markets include Gilbert, AZ rose 8.5%, Roseville, CA (8.5%), and Fort Collins, CO (7.9%) breaking the top 10.

Meanwhile, in a sign that some of the hottest housing markets in the country are starting to buckle under the weight of over development, RC found that the only major market where rents dropped year-over-year was Brooklyn, where rents decreased by 14%.

Read RentCafe’s entire report below:

The price of apartments has gone up in 89% of the nation’s 250 largest cities in January 2018, as demand for rentals remains elevated throughout the country, sustained by an improving economy and low unemployment. Renters continue to embrace apartment life, as rent prices are increasing at a strong and steady annual rate of 2.8%, nationwide, reaching $1,361/month in January 2018.

The price of two-bedroom units is increasing the fastest

One and two-bedroom apartments remain the most in-demand apartment sizes in the U.S. The price of two-bedroom rentals has climbed the most over the year, with a 3.5% increase in rates, exceeding $1,400/month on average, while the price for one-bedroom units has increased by 3.4%, renting for $1,225/month on average in January. The slowest growing apartment type in January were studio apartments, renting for 2.5% more than this time last year.


Rents in 6 cities, including Brooklyn, NY, continue to slide

In only six cities out of the 250 studied are rents cheaper than they were one year ago. With a large new inventory of apartments to fill, the rental market in Lubbock, TX has seen the biggest drop in prices year over year, -6.3%, with an average apartment now renting for less than $900/month. Norman, OK is also seeing a slight decrease in the average rent (-2.3%), as a result of thousands of new apartments hitting the market in just the past few years, with an average rent of $861/month as of January 2018.

Diminished demand for housing has affected prices in McAllen, TX, which have declined by -2.2% year-over-year. Rents in Kansas City, KS and Baton Rouge, LA are also sliding slightly this month, by less than 2%. The only large market to see a decrease in rents is Brooklyn, NY, which had wrapped up last year -1.7% below the previous year’s levels, maintaining the downward direction in January as well, with rents down by -1.1% year over year.

U.S. Cities Where Rents Decreased Y-o-Y in January 2018


Three new cities break the top 10 with greatest rent increases

At the beginning of the year, we have three new cities entering the top 10 for fastest growing rents in the U.S. Fueled by increasing demand, Gilbert, AZ (8.5%), Roseville, CA (8.5%) and Fort Collins, CO (7.9%) saw big rent bumps over the past year. Rental prices in Gilbert, AZ are rising fast, clocking in at $1,156/month in January, as its population has been growing at extremely high rates, demand for housing has skyrocketed, and a big portion of the Gilbert population is renting.

Sacramento Metropolitan Area’s City of Roseville is joining Sacramento — where apartment prices have been on a steep climb for a while now — as one of the top 10 cities in the country with the fastest rising rents. The price of apartments in Roseville, CA has jumped by as much as 8.5% year-over-year, with the average rent currently exceeding $1,600/month. Fort Collins, CO has also become one of the country’s fastest growing rental markets, with residents and Colorado State students competing for a limited number of rental apartments. Rates are up almost 8% from the same time last year, a Fort Collins rental apartment costing on average $1,436/month at the moment.

Oil centers Odessa and Midland, TX are still at the top of the list with the highest rent rebounds over the year, 35% and 31.4% respectively. Buffalo, NY (12.1%) and Lancaster, CA (10.2%) also struggling with double-digit price hikes year-over-year.

U.S. Cities with the Fastest Growing Rents in January 2018:


The most expensive California rents push the limits again in January

The priciest cities for renters remain big urban job centers on both coasts, with Manhattan, NY at the top of the list with an average apartment rent of $4,079, unchanged from the previous month and down slightly by -1% over the year.

If renters living in The Golden State where hoping for a respite from high rents in the new year, they’re not getting it yet. Prices went up again in January in all 5 California cities in the top 10 most expensive for renters, with the highest rates in the state being in San Francisco, $3,448/month. Jersey City apartments, the sixth most expensive in the U.S., also saw increased rates this month, reaching $2,855.

Wichita, KS, Tulsa, OK, and Toledo, OH remain the country’s top 3 most affordable cities for renters, alongside 7 other Midwestern and Texan towns where average rents do not exceed $730/month, a fraction of the prices in coastal cities. In fact, things have been quiet in these parts of the country, as rents remained flat or grew slower than the national average in 9 out of 10 cities. Fort Wayne, IN was the only one to see a significant jump in prices for the year, 4.5%


At the start of the new year, rents are expected to continue rising throughout the country slightly above inflation, as demand for apartments remains strong from all generations of renters. Doug Ressler, senior analyst at Yardi Matrix, offered his opinion as to what renters can expect as we begin a new year:

You can find the average rent in your city at RentCafe.

Source: ZeroHedge

National Rents Stall For 4th Month In A Row As Multi-Family Supply Glut Takes Its Toll

After a steady march higher in the wake of the ‘great recession’ nearly a decade ago, a note today from Rent Cafe reveals that average rents in the United States have now stalled for 4 months in row with September’s national average coming in at $1,354 per month, which is virtually flat from the $1,350 average reached in the summer.

National rents have barely moved through the entire peak rental season and into September, marking the longest period of stagnation in recent history — 4 consecutive months. Coming in at $1,354 for the month of September, the average rent is only 2.2 percent higher than this time last year. This is the slowest annual growth rate we’ve seen in more than six years — having reached a high point of 5.5%-5.6% peak growth around two years ago — a pretty good indicator that the rental market has entered calmer waters.

Still, that doesn’t mean rents have flat-lined everywhere. Though nationally and in the most expensive cities for renters prices have finally come to a full stop, there are still some holdouts—and it seems renters in smaller and mid-sized cities are not yet getting a break, on the contrary.


As we pointed out over the summer, just like almost any bubble, stagnating rents are undoubtedly the symptom of a massive, multi-year supply bubble in multi-family housing units sparked by, among other things, cheap borrowing costs for commercial builders.  Per the chart below from Goldman Sachs, multi-family units under construction is now at record highs and have eclipsed the previous bubble peak by nearly 40%.


But, while rents are certainly slowing – and construction is indeed playing its part – the impact isn’t spread evenly across all markets as Rent Cafe notes that the construction boom in Texas has earned the state 6 out of 10 of the worst performing rental markets in the country. 

The anticipated rent drops from Hurricane Harvey have not been realized in the city of Houston, but are seen in other Texas communities, with the biggest changes being outside of Harvey’s reach, as a result of the major apartment construction taking place throughout the state. Lubbock, located on the west side of the state, came in at No. 1 for biggest year-over-year rent decreases in the nation, with rents dropping 3.4 percent since 2016.

Rents for apartments in Round Rock, a suburb outside Austin—another city barely touched by Harvey, dipped to $1,092—3.4 percent below last year’s numbers. Round Rock took the No. 2 spot for biggest rent decreases of the year.

Texas claimed the third spot, too, with McAllen’s 2.6 percent drop in rents since last year, and three other Texas towns—College Station, Waco and Plano—also made the top 10, with decreases of 2.4 percent, 2 percent, and 1.1 percent, respectively. The rest of the list was spread throughout the nation, with California’s Simi Valley taking No. 4 (down 2.6 percent), New Orleans at No. 5 (down 2.4 percent), Manhattan, NYC at No. 8 (down 1.9 percent), and Tulsa, Oklahoma at No. 9 (down 1.5 percent.)


Meanwhile, areas with stronger job markets and/or better overall affordability are still seeing demand growth which, combined with a lack of capital investment, is driving rents considerably higher.

Though smaller and mid-sized towns used to be a haven for renters looking to avoid the sky-high prices of large urban areas, it seems those days are in the past. September’s list of fastest-growing rents is dominated by small and medium-sized towns—many boasting double-digit growth since this time last year.

The Lone Star State’s Odessa and Midland—both hubs of oil and gas activity—came in at the top two spots, with jumps of 24.7 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively. Odessa rents now clock in at $1,060 per month, while Midland’s reach even higher, coming in at $1,225.

The rest of the nation’s fastest-growing rents can be found largely on the West Coast, with California, Washington, Nevada and Colorado taking up the remaining bulk of the list. The only Northeastern cities to see big year-over-year rent growth were Buffalo, New York, with an 11.2 percent jump over 2016, and Elizabeth, New Jersey, which saw rents climb 8.5 percent to $1,187.


Finally, here are the top 10 most and least expensive rental markets in the U.S. at the end of September 2017. To our complete lack of surprise, New York and California continue to dominate the expensive list while Southern and Midwestern markets continue to provide the best value…perhaps this is why all those domestic migration studies show a mass exodus from the cities on the left to the cities on the right? Just a hunch…


Source: ZeroHedge

Professional Woman Quits Expensive Rents To Live In A Van

A 31-year-old professional woman has turned her back on expensive rents and property prices – by living full time in a van. With an interior measuring just 13ft 2in long, 5ft 8in wide and 6ft 2in high, Eileah Ohning’s home is her Freightliner Sprinter High Top van. The photographic producer from Columbus, Ohio, has lived in her compact four-wheel home since May 2017. Complete with a memory foam mattress, storage compartments, a desk and a camping stove, she even has plans to add in a shower, toilet and fridge. Eileah parks her van close enough to her workplace that she never needs to worry about the morning commute and showers at her local gym.

Rents Across The US Hit A New All Time High

After dropping to an all time low 62.9% in Q2 of 2016, the US home ownership rate rebounded modestly in the subsequent two quarters, then dropped again at the start of the year, before once again rising fractionally to 63.7% in Q2 of 2017 from 63.6% in the previous quarter, just 1% from the all time lows in the series history going back to the mid 1960s.


A breakdown of the data by age group reveals that the primary driver for this decline has been the youngest age cohort. While older Americans, especially those 65 and older, have predictably seen only modest declines in their home ownership in recent decades, it was the youngest age group, those 35 and younger, the Millennials, who over the past decade have seen their home ownership decline steadily from the low 40%’s to the mid-30%, although in Q2 there was a glimmer of good news, as the home ownership rate for Americans 35 and younger posted its first increase in 3 quarters, rising from 34.3% to 35.3%.

As shown in the chart below, the homeownership rate for Millennials has declined from 43.6% in June 2004 to 35.3% in the latest qua rter, and just shy of the lowest rate reported by the Census Bureau going back nearly a quarter century. Of note: while Millennials finally splurged on houses in the latest quarter, the home ownership rates for every other age cohort declined.


But what was most notable in the latest Census data is that for yet another quarter, more Americans opted not to own, but rather rent, and in Q1 the median asking rent jumped by 7.4% Y/Y, from $864 in Q1 to $910.


Broken down by region, the sharpest spike in asking rents was in the Northeast and Western regions, whose median asking rents were nearly identical, at $1,182 and $1,192, an increase of 21% and 16%, respectively.


Finally, what makes the latest spike in rents curious is that while the homeownership vacancy rate declined in the latest quarter, the rental vacancy rate actually increased to 7.3% from 7.0%, the highest since Q1 2016. The rental vacancy has been increasing since Q2 2016 when it troughed at 6.7%, and has since posted four quarters of consecutive growth. It would seem counter intuitive that the vacancy rate is rising even as median asking rents are hitting new all time highs.


While a new record in rents is hardly what Americans want to hear, it will be music to the Fed’s ears as it means that contrary to various other calculations and imputations, inflation in the US is alive and well.

Source: ZeroHedge

Can’t Afford A Shanghai Apartment? Try Sleeping In A “Shared Compartment”

(ZeroHedge) Shanghai’s status as an emerging tech hub is bringing with it problems related to overcrowding experienced by US cities like San Francisco and certain parts of New York City – namely out-of-control rents and home prices.

But now, the cities’ mid-tier office drones, some of whom may not have enough cash saved to “commit” to an apartment, have a new low-cost housing alternative. They’re called shared compartments, and they’re are popping up in office buildings around Shanghai. Users pay to sleep in the compartments for a set amount of time. They’re given disposable bedding to make sleeping more comfortable, and the compartments are disinfected automatically by ultraviolet light after each use.

Photos of these compartments have been circulating on Chinese media:

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/2017.07.15Shanghaione_0.JPGPeople can enjoy a rest in the compartment by scanning the QR codes for payment.

A man experiences a shared compartment in Shanghai…

The inside of a shared compartment…

The disposable bedding…


They have been rising precipitously now for at least a decade, with an average 1,000 square foot apartment in Shanghai going for $725,000, or around five million yuan. Shanghai’s average salary per month is 7,108 yuan ($1,135) or 85,300 yuan a year. That puts local property in Shanghai at about 50 times median salaries in the city, according to Forbes. By comparison, housing prices in New York City are 32 times salaries of average New Yorkers.

With those figures in mind, showering at the company gym doesn’t sound so bad.

Living in a box: The desperate workers forced to live in tiny ‘coffin’ apartments of Tokyo – which still cost up to £400 a month to rent

  • Japanese capital is one of the most crowded cities in the world
  • ‘Geki-sema’ or share houses are mainly used by young professionals
  • No windows and enough room for one person and a few possessions
They are barely large enough for a single person to squeeze into at all, let alone swing a cat.

But incredibly these tiny ‘coffin’ apartments in central Tokyo still command rents of up to £400 a month.

The Japanese capital is one of the most crowded cities in the world, and to cash in on the chronic housing problem, landlords have developed what are known as ‘geki-sema’ or share houses.

https://i0.wp.com/i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/28/article-0-1859C822000005DC-752_634x356.jpgTight squeeze: A Tokyo local shows a Japanese news crew around her tiny ‘coffin apartment’

Pokey: People are paying up to £400-a-month to live in the tiny ‘coffin’ apartments

Party time: The news team somehow manage to all squeeze inside the miniscule apartment

They are little more than cupboards, tiny cubicles stacked on top of each other with just enough room for one person and a few of their possessions.

Definitely not for the claustrophobic, many don’t even have windows and the doors and anyone over 6ft tall would have trouble stretching their legs.

Most are used by young professionals who spend most of their time at work and outdoors, using these tiny accommodations just for sleeping.

The photo’s of the apartments in the Tokyo’s Shibuya district come from a recent Japanese news program showed


Tight squeeze: A man shows off his tiny Tokyo apartment with just enough room to stretch out and hang his clothes.

Cosy: The tiny cubicles are often stacked on top of each other and contain just enough room for one person to stretch out

Entertaining friends: The apartments tend to be used by young professionals who spend most of their time at work and outdoors

No space like home: Many of the ‘geki-sema’ share houses don’t even have windows