Markets & EconomyRentals

Silicon Valley Airbnb host successfully rents backyard tent for $46/night

High-demand marketplace has multiple people sharing rooms -- and some renting out tents

Finding an affordable place in Silicon Valley is like finding a needle in a haystack, and even that may be easier.

According to Rentbits, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in nearby San Francisco is $3,600 — but for the low cost of $900 per month, one lucky person can find the apartment of their dreams … more or less.

One Mountain View, California, resident is renting out a tent in the backyard of his parents’ house near the Google X campus for $46 a night, or $900 a month. Among the list of amenities available to guests is one shower per day and the food inside the home.

John Potter, founder of awwpictures.com, is the host of the Airbnb listing page for a Coleman tent, and he said that he received so much demand that he had to increase the price of the “home.” It was originally listed for $20 a night.

A screenshot from the CBS report.

A screenshot from the CBS report.

Even after bumping the price up, he had to turn down a lot of people because of the incredible demand for places to stay in Mountain View.

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In the week that the listing was up, Potter had three guests staying with him, one of whom ended up staying in a spare bedroom because it had opened up in the house.

After word got out about the listing, Potter said he received a lot of spam inquires and temporarily took the page down. He told Inman in an emailed statement that he plans to put it back up on Airbnb in the future.

A screenshot from the CBS report.

A screenshot from the CBS report.

But it raises some interesting questions about the marketplace.

“I think one of the great things about Airbnb is the ability to list ‘nontraditional’ accommodations. A tent in somebody’s backyard definitely qualifies,” said David Ordal, CEO of Everbooked, a listing price tool for Airbnb hosts.

“What’s interesting about his pricing is that he’s charging a rate that’s only slightly below other ‘one bedroom’ accommodations in the area. If you search for his listing on the Everbooked comps tool, it gives you a list of other one-bedroom apartments in the area, all with real walls and a real roof. They’re priced between $40 and $60 per night,” Ordal said.

Although some may think that listing a tent is a “scheming” way to make money in a high-demand community, it is also technically adding to the pool of inventory in a region where sharing rooms on Airbnb is common.

So if people are interested in paying Potter’s rates for the backyard tent, that tells industry experts something about the lack of available housing opportunities in the region.

Email Kimberly Manning.


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