•         “Downsizing” has grown from a trend to a movement. Despite the average home growing 1,000 square feet larger in the past 45 years, young people are living in smaller spaces. Housing prices, financial constraints, and social trends are creating an environment of “compulsory downsizing” — forcing people to live in shrinking spaces while simultaneously creating disruptions in various markets.

Compulsory Downsizing in the Bay Area is fueled by these 4 urban realities.

  1. Real estate prices in San Francisco have skyrocketed. The median home value in San Francisco has risen to well over 1 million dollars while rent prices often exceed $4,000.
  2. Wage growth stagnates behind rising living costs. The average wage in San Francisco is approximately $85,000 and the average American spends approximately 30% of their income on rent which amounts to a budget of $2,100 for the average San Franciscan. That price could rent a space in a house of 30 near SOMA or a 5 bedroom house Austin, Texas.
  3. Fewer people live alone. High costs of living and an emergence of the “sharing-economy” has people distributing housing costs amongst their peers. Zillow reports that in 2014, “doubled up households” (a household containing an additional adult besides the primary owner[s]) have grown to encompass an average of 32.8% of all households in the United States — as opposed to 25.4% back in 2000.
  4. Minimalism is catching on. “Less is more” is evolving from a trend to a movement. Technology, environmental concerns and the desire for mobility have all contributed to popularizing a lifestyle with less stuff.

Markets are getting disrupted in 3 ways.

  1. Less stuff is becoming more attractive. According to the research group eMarketer, millennials are spending less on material possessions while placing more emphasis on experiential purchases like travel.
  2. Surprisingly, millennials are moving around less. High real estate costs, student debt, lower marriage rates and lower reproductive rates mean that 25 to 34-year-olds now move less than their counterparts from 1995.
  3. It has become harder to get rid of stuff. People, especially older couples, are finding that the process of downsizing is becoming more time-consuming. Companies like the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity are pickier with the items they accept for donation. Meanwhile, a migration of consumers to online platforms has created dozens of websites to sell used goods which can complicate the seller process.

The concept of American homeownership has evolved. The dream of a suburban home and 2 children have been replaced with small urban apartments and hopes of paying off student debt. Remoov simplifies the downsizing, moving and/or the decluttering process. Just send us photos of the items that you would like to get removed then schedule a pickup. For all of your unwanted clutter, we can sell items on your behalf (you pocket 50% of the profit), donate (you receive the tax write-offs), recycle or dispose of it. With a single pickup, an entire home can be decluttered.

by David Webb