Two San Diego women have created an app for travelers that’s gaining a sizable following of nomadic young people living out of vans.
Inspired by a social media phenomenon, Breanne Acio, a former San Diego State University lecturer, and public relations worker Jessica Shisler teamed up in 2018 to pave the way for the drifter movement known online as “vanlife.” They created a mobile application, aptly called The Vanlife App, that’s just secured the two women spots in a competitive Techstars accelerator program for promising startups.
The app currently connects longterm travelers with one another while on the road, solving the problem of loneliness that weighs on this group of individuals. The downside of a nomadic lifestyle is that you have no community, Shisler said.
“You’re constantly in places you don’t know and around people you don’t know,” Shisler said. “You’re never a local.”
For those who haven’t heard of it, “vanlife” refers to a recent bohemian trend of people buying cargo vans, old ambulances, school buses and other boxy vehicles, and converting them into livable apartments on wheels (think of it as a do-it-yourself RV). Many vanlifers are also “digital nomads” who work remotely online, such as freelance writers, software developers, or content creators. With no strings tying them to specific cities or towns, they wander from destination to destination for months on end.
This 3,000-square-foot home in Phoenix is made up of stackedshippingcontainers, but you’d never know it once you walked inside. It’s modern, open designed interiors matches the style and spaciousness of any other single-family home today.
Homes constructed ofshippingcontainers are drawing more attention in the building industry. These homes are flood and fire-proof, eco-friendly, energy efficient, and there’s certainly no shortage of them to transform. Worldwide, an estimated 24 million emptyshippingcontainers are retired, just waiting to find a new purpose. Could real estate be it?
Some housing experts predict shipping containers to make up a bigger footprint of homes and buildings in the future. One shipping container can be transformed into a tiny home, several molded together could form a standard-sized single-family home, and hundreds stacked together in a Lego-like way could make for an apartment complex. Shipping containers can also be transformed as add-ons to existing homes, such as a garage.
But can ashippingcontainer be stylish? Shara Terry, a real estate pro with Berkshire Hathway HomeServices Arizona Properties in Phoenix, certainly thinks so. She’s listing a three-bedroom, four-bath single-family, shippingcontainer home for $610,000. The home, which is a hybrid of two stacked containers on its east side and two stacked on its west side, is designed byengineer Jorge Salcedo and Colombian architect Gregorio Baquero.
“A lot of people who’ve visited it have been curious, and they can’t believe it used to be a shipping container once they step inside and they see how open and seamless it is inside,” Terry says. “There really are only two subtle reminders in the interior that show a portion of the red container,” but even those have been blended into the overall decor. The exterior includes some writing on the containers that were preserved for character, including a stamp in Vietnamese showing its former location.
Cassidy Claire Risien, 34, is an actor and artist living in Los Angeles but, even with her day job as a spin instructor, her budget is tight.
Despite that, she lives in a newly renovated townhouse in trendy Venice, California — just seven blocks from the beach.
“I had been living by myself and it was no longer sustainable,” she said. In an online search for rentals in her area, she set the price range to its lowest setting and a communal living, or co-living, option popped up among the results.
Now Risien pays less than a $1,000 a month to live at Haven, a co-living community.
Co-living spaces bring together a group of people, likely strangers, in a shared space. Often, there are private sleeping quarters but the kitchens and work areas are communal spaces.
For many like Risien, sluggish wage growth and sky-high rents in many cities have made it unaffordable to live alone.
As our real estate market wraps up its strongest decade in history, let’s looks back at the trends.
The government intervened early in the decade by stopping foreclosures and manipulating rates to all-time lows. It resulted in the longest, strongest sellers’ market we’ve ever seen, with no real end in sight. How ridiculous has it become? This week I wrote an offer with the price and terms that the seller demanded, and she countered over the smoke detectors.
Big-time outsiders entered the industry too, hoping to get in on the commission pie. Because none of the industry leaders have been willing to put up an fight, individual agents are left to fend for themselves, and they have resorted to survival gimmicks like short-sale fraud and off-market sales.
Every March we would get a surge of new listings, and the number of choices would grow until August. Lately the inventory has peaked sooner as both buyers and sellers are more antsy about procuring a sale. The most fascinating trend has been how inventory has dwindled with rising prices – in the past when pricing would go up, it would cause more homeowners to sell, but not now:
Each year the best deals sell first, causing a gradual lift in pricing as the summer rolls on and buyers end up paying more later for the leftovers. These are interactive graphs, so you can see the stats for each month by running your cursor over the lines:
What can we expect over the next decade?
Mostly we will be selling old-people homes as the baby boomers phase out. In California there will be less impact as the kids find a way to keep the family estate and preserve the ultra-low property taxes, rather than buy a different home. But it seems inevitable that fewer move-up buyers will bother with the difficulties of moving, and just end up staying put – leaving only the old empty houses to sell.
The first few months of 2020 will be rip-roaring hot, and where that takes us will be very intriguing. If more oldtimers decide that leaving the state is the best/last/only solution, then the market could really take off as the inventory surges with more sort-of-reasonably-priced homes.
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