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Housing Costs Pushing People To Live In Vans

Graham Perdue
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As the current generation of potential young homeowners grapples with the staggering cost of living, some are making a surprising choice. A growing number of 20-somethings and older are opting to live in vans to cut expenses and try to prepare for a better future. 

Housing prices skyrocketed under the Biden administration, and with the current 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 6.625%, home ownership is simply not an option for many just starting out.

And they are finding the conventional wisdom of eliminating Starbucks and streaming services is not enough to reach their parent’s level of security. So they are increasingly opting for a home with four tires and a steering wheel.


In the two years following the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic inflation surge, “van lifers” increased by a whopping 63%. 

As of 2022 there were an estimated 3.1 million Americans living their day-to-day lives in vans customized to be their homes. Though mobility is certainly a draw for some, the fact that van life is far less expensive than traditional home ownership is the primary lure.

According to Forbes, the average cost of a home now approaches half a million dollars depending on which state you choose to buy in. 

Michael Alberse is a TikTok influencer with 57,000 followers. After graduating college and starting work for Google at 22, he decided to move into a van to change the trajectory of his future.


He explained, “I chose to live in a van as a short-term sacrifice to almost guarantee my long-term financial future. I chose to buy a van and build it out so I could save money on rent and put those additional dollars into investments.”

Alberse said living on wheels is not his “forever plan” but it’s establishing a base for his future.

Living in his motor home, which he called “Ted,” lasted for only a year. Citing homesickness and loneliness, the influencer reported he moved in with his parents before finally purchasing a home in Atlanta.

The New York Post cited a van-living couple, Court and Nate, who drew 2.5 million social media followers to their mobile lifestyle. In the initial few years of their new life they paid off existing debt and saved over $70,000 toward a Southern California land purchase.

Court said before purchasing the van they were on track to “never be able to buy a home.” She added, “It’s just so expensive. Why is housing so expensive?”