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Group housing for you?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis December 19, 2013 11:33 AM

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Out in the Bay Area, with rents skyrocketing, groups of young professionals are teaming up to rent out old, turn-of-the-century mansions.

NPR did a piece on it this morning - here's a link to a blog post on it.

The story focuses on one group that is renting out a 7,500 square foot Edwardian mansion, complete with lots of beautiful common areas and an early 1900s bowling alley in the basement.

When you are splitting the rent twelve different ways, it apparently cheaper than getting stuck paying the median two-bedroom rent in the Bay Area, which is an incredible $3,200.

Everyone interviewed in the story was very careful, though, not to call it a "commune," which I guess I got a kick out of.

The word still has some negative connotations after all these years, and for good reason, in my view.

My then hippie older sister spent a memorable few months in a true commune out in Western Massachusetts in the early 1970s.

She shared some grim looking dorm/drafty barn with a bunch of other flower children on what amounted to a subsistence farm somewhere in the boonies off of Route 2. I say subsistence because everyone there had a semi-emaciated look, except the small clique running the place, who apparently enjoyed a different set of rules and privileges.

"Michael" ruled the roost in wall that means in such a situation. His status came from the fact he had some sort of rock band, though who didn't back then. I was a pre-schooler tand would tag along with my parents when they delivered care packages to Sandy, who wasn't big on tending to the scraggly potatoes grown on the farm, or, for that matter, manual labor in general.

Always wondered what happened with that particular adventure in alternative living, the commune in the middle of nowhere in the woods off Route 2.

Anyway, I guess it's apparently a pretty sensitive point for some of these Bay Area hipsters as they experiment with co-housing.

One of the group living in the mansion, some budding professor, explained to NPR that the word commune, regretfully, has all sorts of connotations.

No, it's definitely not a commune, and thank the heavens for that. In fact, it sounds like it could be fun if you can get along with everyone. Just leave the 1960s nonsense out of it.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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