This country is heading straight towards an urban rent catastrophe.
Rents are outpacing incomes in almost every major city. We’re supposed to spend no more than 30% of income on rent, but the nationwide average just surpassed that for the first time ever. San Francisco and New York lead the pack (45% and 42% respectively), but there are 25 US cities where the situation is over 30%.
The problem is incredibly complex and no one has a great solution. Local governments can’t build enough affordable housing to quench their thirsty job markets. Band-Aid solutions like new zoning laws mandate that developers make 25% of their units below-market rate, which sounds like it’s helping until we realize that a year of construction is 1% of housing.
Developers don’t have any incentive to build housing for anybody but the above average wage earners. Since 2007, San Francisco has built 18.1% of middle class housing, and 189.9% of needed luxury housing. With the high costs of construction and the scarcity of land, new middle class housing is an oxymoron when average rents are above $4,500 / mo in San Francisco.
“A year of construction is only 1% of housing.”
As a result, millennials and the middle class are taking the hit. Take your average millennial; you make $34k / year, or $17 / hour. Your job is downtown and you love the city lifestyle, but city rent takes up 53% of your income, or an astounding 78% for millennials in San Francisco. No wonder a record 32% of millennials are staying at home. Thanks Mom and Dad.
The process of finding a place is also a terribly ad-hoc and unguided process. Scour the online wild west of Craigslist ads, which has had a less than stellar safety record, attend madhouse open houses with crowds of people bearing credit scores and personal bios. And if you can qualify for the city’s affordable housing, you’ll get to enter a lottery amongst thousands of others for a few units per building. Like your odds?
“We’re the first and only market-driven solution for affordable housing.”
Cities evolve too quickly for anyone to build a solution. But what if we tried something new. What if we convert what we already have, today?
That’s what we’re doing at HomeShare. We’re building an attractive yet affordable city living experience. Finding an affordable place with great housemates has never been easier because of our matching process and converted luxury units.
We launched two months ago in our first San Francisco apartment building in Potrero Hill, and we now have nearly 100 people living in our apartments. They include a 27-year old recruiter at Twitter, a recent graduate from UNC, a 35-year old SF native, and a 43-year old biologist from Spain. It shouldn’t matter that you’re from outside the city, or that you’ve been here all your life and are sick of the commute. We value:
1. Sharing and caring. When living together, it’s critical that you go the extra mile to help one another. That’s why we call our customers Homies. Homies are always there to lend a helping hand from the day someone moves in to when an emergency happens. At HomeShare, we carry that same level of care for customers and co-workers alike.
2. Financial prudence. We believe hard-working individuals deserve access to affordable housing. Whether you’re starting a new job or in school, we take pride in the fact that HomeShare helps you keep that paycheck. That’s why every employee also uses HomeShare too!
3. Staying focused. Whether you just got a new job or your looking to move closer to the office, our Homies are career-oriented.
“Hard-working individuals deserve access to affordable housing”
We’re part real estate developer, part concierge, part leasing agent, part data analysts, part city welcoming committee, and part high growth tech startup. We’re building an automated housemate matching system, a self monitoring lead generation system, and a rental payment system. We use Docker, PHP, Rails, Stripe, Plaid, and AWS. And email.
We’re the first and only market-driven solution for affordable housing. We make customers happy because we’re affordable. We make apartments happy because we’re giving them long-term tenants. The entire city of San Francisco adds about 2,300 new housing units every year. We hope to surpass that in our second year as a company.
The HomeShare team — Jeff, Tom, Rick, Joanne and Anjennette