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Rising Rents Lead to 'Doubling Up' and RV Living

Posted by Hannah Raissa Marfil on Feb 15, 2016 09:40 AM EST
RV Sales Increase, Signal Boost In Consumer Spending more big
FAIRFIELD, CA - MAY 29: Gary Shelton (R) talks with a salesman after touring a motorhome at Cordelia RV on May 29, 2013 in Fairfield, California. Deliveries of motor homes and towable RVs to dealers surged 11 percent in the first quarter and the RV industry anticipates a total of 307,300 units will be shipped this year, the highest number since 2007. (Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Some individuals have taken creative approaches in handling rising rents, from adopting a small community of renters in a single residential property to living in an RV or mobile home.

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A report from Zillow highlighted how three Seattle residents are handling the challenge of rising rents in the area. One of the three residents included Ellen Sims, a massage therapist and executive of a non-profit group, who decided to leave Seattle's rent race a year ago. She opted to invest in a $2,000 recreational vehicle (RV) to avoid paying high rental fees. Her RV maintenance costs now run her around $240 a month, plus an additional $300 to cover propane and gas fees, as well as insurance and other travel costs. 

Sims told Zillow that she is now paying "about a third to a fourth of what other people are paying" for living alone. She added, "It's affording me the ability to pay off debt and save money at the same time, so that I can hopefully get to purchase some land." Sims, who specializes in craniosacral therapy, also noticed that most of her clients are too stressed and tense from working too much. She confessed that RV living has helped ease her money problems, as compared to renting a home or apartment.  "I'm not constantly checking how much I have. I'm not stressed out, and that is literally priceless," she continued.

Two other Seattle residents shared their unique approach to handling rising rents. Husband-and-wife Michael Craft and Reba Wirtel have taken to non-traditional living situations to address skyrocketing rents, according to the same report. Craft and Wirtel have adopted a "doubling up" or "living in community" style where they live with multiple roommates in one property. All of them share the bills and follow a communal style of living. Wirtel mentioned that the community even shares cooking responsibilities, apart from splitting the rental fees. 

Her husband Craft also runs a 25-bedroom artists' community called "InArtsNW," where rental rates start at around $625 a month. The property has two communal kitchens, 12 toilets, a couple of bathtubs and around four to five showers.

Meanwhile, rental rates in Seattle rose 3.1 percent in January as compared to the previous month, according to a recent Zumper rental report. One-bedroom median rent prices in the area are at $1,650, while two-bedroom units go for $2,330. On a year-over-year basis, Seattle's January rents for one-bedroom and two-bedroom units rose 3.1 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.

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