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Homeshare rents out luxury apartments cut into small affordable units

pacific heights neighborhood tour 2721Melia Robinson/Business

  • HomeShare, a startup based in San Francisco, converts
    living rooms in above-market-rate buildings into bedrooms so
    tenants can save on rent.
  • The company pockets a cut of the rent, like a finder’s
  • Each of HomeShare’s customers gets their own
    bedroom, a closet, and a private or shared bathroom. Prices
    start at $1,125 a month.


In San Francisco, desperate renters are finding their real-estate
bliss in converted living rooms that lease for as little as
$1,125 a month. Because elbow room is an overrated amenity.

HomeShare is a startup
that leases apartments in expensive new buildings and splices
them into additional units, so more tenants can split the rent
for less per person. A two-bedroom becomes fit for three after
HomeShare installs an upholstered partition in the den.

Founded in 2016, the startup has partnered with 10 properties
across San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and New York City and put

hundreds of renters
into homes that they couldn’t otherwise
afford. It also provides roommate-matching for city transplants
and other users.

Jeff Pang, founder and CEO of HomeShare, declined to share more
specific user numbers but said the company has received 30,000
applications in the Bay Area alone since 2016.

homeshare converted living room apartment
An upholstered partition creates space for a bedroom in
the living room of a HomeShare apartment.


Pang, previously an early employee at Uber, is of the unpopular
opinion that San Francisco does not have a housing shortage.
“There’s plenty of housing,” Pang said, “it’s just all in this
luxury segment.”

As millennials continue to migrate to high-priced urban areas,
are cropping up to meet demand
for affordable housing.
Companies like
, and
— a spinoff of coworking giant WeWork — lease or buy
buildings and fill them with amenities. Community is a core
offering of these self-described “coliving” dwellings. In some
places, residents pay a premium (starting at $3,050 a month) for the
privilege of having a dozen or more roommates.

HomeShare takes a slightly different approach by trimming away
the excess roommates and amenities like free internet and maid
service, which brings down the cost of rent. Many of the
buildings already have pools, fitness centers, and, most
importantly, proximity to downtown.

Screen Shot 2018 01 05 at 4.13.43 PM
Each micro-bedroom fits a queen-sized bed, a
nightstand, and a dresser.


In San Francisco, prices start at $1,125 for a converted room,
$1,500 for a private room, and $1,700 for a room with a private
bath. Pang estimated that HomeShare customers spend less than
half of what its buildings charge in rent for studios. HomeShare
takes a cut of the rent.

In 2017, San Francisco renters paid an average price of
more than $3,000
a month.

“People come here for opportunity, not to spend tons of money,”
Pang said. About half of HomeShare customers are recent
transplants who are “shell-shocked” by the rent prices. And the
converted living rooms are the most commonly requested units
because they’re the cheapest, according to Pang.

Homeshare will expand to new markets in 2018, which Pang declined
to name. 

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