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Thursday, February 22, 2024

They live in containers, cars, microapartments. “The real estate market has become a nightmare”

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I don’t know a single person my age who would be able to buy a property in or around London without the help of their parents – says Harrison Marshall, who lives in a waste container on one of London’s streets, in an interview with TVN24 Biznes. “This project acts a bit like a protest and encourages society to ask tough questions: how is an average earner supposed to live in a place where rental prices are becoming unbearable,” he explains. Kasia Mecinski, creator of the YouTube channel “Fifty halfway” describes the situation in Silicon Valley. – Even under Google or other well-known technology companies there are trucks, vans or ordinary cars converted into apartments – he says.

Harrison Marshall, a 28-year-old designer from London’s CAUKIN Studio, begins his conversation with TVN24 Biznes with the fact that he decided to convert a waste container and live in it, because “London’s real estate market has become a nightmare for both tenants and buyers.”

– Prices are rising year by year at a rate significantly exceeding the increase in wages. At these rental prices, putting aside any meaningful savings is becoming increasingly impossible. I don’t know a single person my age who would be able to buy a property in or around London without the help of their parents. This means that those of us who do not have parents in a very good financial situation have to spend half of their income on rent, he says.

Harrison Marshall HouseReuters

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Bartosz Turek, chief analyst at HRE Investment, citing Numbeo data, calculates for TVN24 Biznes that the rent in London is on average 172.7 percent higher than in the previous year. higher than in Warsaw.

According to British government data, the average rent in London exceeds £2,000 in the most expensive districts, in less expensive districts you can rent an apartment for less than £1,500. pounds. Meanwhile, the average salary in the UK was 2,100 in September last year. gross pounds.

Rental rates in Londonhttps://www.london.gov.uk/

Harrison Marshall says it cost around £4,000 to convert the container into a home. – Which, spread over a year or more, is much cheaper than renting – he notes.

– I designed it myself, because I studied architecture. The construction took about a month, with friends helping me every day. I currently have no expenses other than those related to food.

He estimates that he will live in the container for a year and thus save money. – The project acts a bit like a protest and encourages society to ask difficult questions: how is an average earner supposed to live in a place where rent prices are becoming unbearable? How can the government intervene? What legislation can be introduced to help reduce disparities in social stratification? – inspires Marshall.

The creator of the apartment in the waste container mentions in our conversation that he initially feared for his safety, because the container is placed in a prominent place on one of London’s streets. – But I had no problems. The neighbors are extremely welcoming and friendly, which was a great experience I wasn’t expecting. It’s hard to have a sense of community in a city like London, but the unusual housing situation gave me a reason to get to know my neighbors and organize a mini party to celebrate building insulation.

He also says he has been approached by many people from around the world asking how they could do something similar in their own country. “That wasn’t my goal,” he points out.

– I am more interested in emphasizing the situation on the housing market. However, all in all, these questions show how dramatic the situation is, because people think that living in a waste container is a good solution – he assesses.

Micro-apartments: when the toilet is pulled out, there is no place for a shower

Kasia Mecinski was born in Chicago. Her parents emigrated from Poland to the United States in the 1980s in search of work. Mecinski creates the YT channel “Fifty na Half”, where he looks at different societies. In 2012 she went to Japan. In an interview with TVN24 Biznes, she shares her experience when she saw for the first time that an entire apartment in Tokyo could only be 8 square meters.

Small I like the apartments very much in terms of the use of space, but of course the fact that they exist indicates not only creativity, ingenuity, but also the problems of the housing market. It’s about rental and purchase prices, that it’s all very expensive and not only for young people – he emphasizes.

– I lived in a shared apartment of 28 square meters. It was about PLN 5,000 per apartment. There was not much space, there was no washbasin in the bathroom, hands were washed in the kitchen – recalls Kasia Mecinski.

How is it to live in such small spaces? – The bathrooms are surprising, because the toilet is pulled out from under the sink. So you go into the bathroom, you have space for a shower and sink, but to access the toilet, you have to move the sink away. When the toilet is pulled out, there is no room for a shower – he gives details.

He points out that in Japan, due to the high costs on the real estate market, the so-called share houses, i.e. dormitories for adults. “These are large houses with 30 bedrooms, a shared three-burner kitchen and a living room,” he describes.

In our conversation, he shows another problem related to the difficult economic situation, which means that some people do not have their permanent place. – They are adapting Internet cafes, which in Japan have semi-private rooms like cubicles in offices, and you can rent them by the hour to use the Internet or watch a movie. In recent years, more and more people use these cafes to live – he explains.

People in parking lots. They have no way to pay for housing, because it is very expensive there

Kasia Mecinski also talks about the solutions she saw in Silicon Valley, in USA.

– When the IT sector started to develop, where people were earning amazing money, it made the area too expensive for those who work in other sectors. But even under Google or other well-known technology companies there are trucks, vans or ordinary cars converted into apartments – he points out.

When asked who lives in them, he replies that those who are just starting in big tech. – They have no way to pay for housing, because it is very expensive there. Such a high rent for people starting their career is unattainable. So they park the car and live in it, he says.

According to Numbeo, rent in San Francisco is 262.3 percent lower than higher than in Warsaw.

Mecinski adds that there is also a growing trend of people choosing to live in boats that can be “purchased second-hand for $40,000 and only pay for parking on the water per month.” “In February, a program was even approved in one county to move such residents to homes on land,” he says.

It’s about Richardson Bay. The case was covered by CBS Bay Area and said that boat dwellers are damaging the ecosystem in the bay that provides protection from climate change and supports fishing. The current situation was assessed as unsustainable.

Journalist Jessica Bruder in her book “Nomadland. On the way to work” writes that there have always been: vagabonds, vagabonds, wandering workers, restless spirits. “But now, in the third millennium, a new nomadic tribe has emerged. People who never thought they would become nomads are setting out. what the middle class is becoming today. Would you rather have food or go to the dentist, pay a mortgage or an electric bill, pay a car payment or buy medicine, spend on rent or pay off a student loan? Struggle for winter clothes or fuel to be able to get to work?” he notes.

His life wasn’t always like this. “He did a great job as a stonemason”

We recently talked to Bartosz Turk about the Polish real estate market. He stated that it used to be said that if we spend up to one-third of our salary on a flat, it is good. – Now we see that often this one-third of the salary is not enough – he assessed in an interview with TVN24 Biznes.

Anton Bubiel from Rentier.io told us that on the market you have to pay an average of PLN 3,750 for renting a 50-meter apartment in Warsaw (annual increase in the cost of rent by 33%), in Kraków PLN 3,050 (increase by 36%), in Poznań PLN 2,550 (increase by 21%) in Toruń PLN 2,106 (increase by 32%), and in Sosnowiec PLN 1,918 (increase by 27%). Metering and administration charges must be added to these amounts.

The increase in rental prices has made people look for an apartment in a settlement other than financial. “Yes, up to PLN 1,000, I am able to pay the rent plus bills and help run the house (original spelling)”, “I don’t want to wonder anymore whether to pay for the apartment or for groceries. It’s too much for me”, “Rental costs at the moment they absorb the lion’s share of what I earn” – these are just a few statements in social media posted on groups where future tenants are looking for housing offers in barter settlement – for example, in exchange for caring for an elderly person.

We asked the “Szlachetna Paczka” Foundation about itwhat other housing solutions are chosen by those who barely have enough to live on.

– Mr. Janusz lives in an old barracks. No electricity or running water. The only source of heat is an old goat. Through the leaky door, mice come inside, destroying Mr. Janusz’s already meager food supplies – reports Ewa Tryjańska from Szlachetna Paczka.

He points out that his life wasn’t always like this. He did well as a stonecutter. He had a well-paid job abroad. Everything was changed by a stroke that forced him to return to Poland.

He hasn’t been able to work full-time since then. He earned money as he could, for example by walking carts in one of the hypermarkets. For 4 years now, he is no longer able to do even that. He lives on a modest allowance of PLN 700. More than half of this amount is spent on medicines, i.e. PLN 370. He has 330 zlotys to live on. His dream is to renovate a modest barracks, he explains.

Barak, house of Mr. JanuszNoble Parcel

Mr. Janusz, with the financial means at his disposal, was unable to rent a flat. In the last edition of the Noble Box, volunteers brought a goat stove, warm clothes, a sleeping bag and food to it.

Read also: Rates are breaking records. “Prices should be expected to fall. However, this is not happening”

Main photo source: Reuters

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