San Francisco Rent Is So Insane, This Guy Lives in a Box for $508 a Month This illustrator tapped his creativity to create 'a solution that works for me.'

By Catherine Clifford

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Peter Berkowitz

This is what San Francisco real estate looks like today: A guy built a box to live in, and he's paying $508 a month to live in it.

San Francisco is the most expensive place to rent an apartment in the country. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco in March is $3,590, according to the rental listing site That's $310 more than the average one-bedroom rent of $3,280 in New York City. And it's more than twice the $1,700 it costs to live in Seattle.

That's why a San Francisco-based illustrator, Peter Berkowitz, built himself a box to live in.

He calls it a pod, and it's parked, if you will, in his pal's living room. He pays $400 a month in rent to the purveyor of said living room. The fixed costs of building the pod were $108 a month, if you average the costs out over a year. That's where he comes up with the $508 monthly cost, according to a blog post Berkowitz wrote about his adventure.

Related: 3 Reasons Tech Workers Are Fleeing Silicon Valley

"Yes, living in a pod is silly. But the silliness is endemic to San Francisco's absurdly high housing prices," writes Berkowitz, 25, in his blog post. "The pod is just a solution that works for me."

Plus, living in a pod isn't so bad, at least according to Berkowitz. He says that with a bit of innovative design, his pod is pretty comfy. (We have embedded a handful of snaps below.)

"People are typically surprised that I would want to live in a pod, but I think they tend to underestimate how pleasant a pod can be if it's designed smartly. It's the coziest bedroom I've ever had," writes Berkowitz. "It's the only bed I've had with a fold-down desk, a slanted and cushioned backboard, and uniformly ideal light for reading (I can read comfortably from anywhere on my bed. This sounds trivial but isn't.)."

Pod-living is a more functional alternative living situation than hanging a partition curtain because it offers more privacy and quiet, says Berkowitz. And he would like to help others build a pod, if they are interested.

Turning to a pod wasn't a desperate last ditch effort to find a warm place to put his head down at night. Berkowitz was subletting apartments in San Francisco before turning to pod living.

Related: How Many Bodyguards Does It Take to Protect Mark Zuckerberg's 5-Bedroom Mansion?

"I'm by no means in dire straights -- I can and could afford my bills -- but I just saw this as a way to pay less of them without (as I perceive it) giving up anything of much value," says Berkowitz in an email with Entrepreneur.

To be sure, Berkowitz isn't the first to find a work-around to San Francisco's sky-high rent. A young software engineer has been living out of a truck parked in the Google parking lot for more than 10 months and he's charting his savings.

A pod. A truck bed. The stuff Silicon Valley dreams are made of.

Image Credit: Peter Berkowitz

Image Credit: Peter Berkowitz

Image Credit: Peter Berkowitz

Image Credit: Peter Berkowitz

Image Credit: Peter Berkowitz

Image Credit: Peter Berkowitz

Image Credit: Peter Berkowitz

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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