Beneath the Surface: California’s Underground Homes Craze

Beneath the Surface: California's Underground Homes Craze

Living underground might sound like something out of a movie, but for Caitlin J., it’s a reality. Caitlin, whose last name remains a mystery to protect her privacy, has opted to reside in an underground bunker in California, not because she’s a doomsday prepper, but simply to save money.

Paying a mere $500 a month for her unconventional dwelling located in her friend’s backyard, Caitlin plans to live in this 1,100-square-foot bunker for a year to gather funds for a future condo purchase. Despite the atypical living space, Caitlin is more thrilled than frightened, comparing her experience to the challenges faced on the show ‘Naked and Afraid.’

Documenting her underground journey on TikTok under the handle undergroundgirl1, Caitlin has sparked both concern and curiosity among viewers. While some worry about her well-being due to the lack of natural light and fresh air, others express anxiety about potential risks like getting locked inside.

The trend of living in bunkers is on the rise, with companies reporting a 30% to 50% increase in interest this year alone. Although most bunkers serve as emergency shelters rather than permanent residences, individuals like Caitlin view them as a sanctuary amidst the current housing market’s challenges.

Real estate experts cite the soaring prices in California as a driving force behind such unconventional housing decisions. With the difficulty of affording homes in desired neighborhoods, buyers are exploring alternative arrangements such as bunkers, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), and smaller rental properties to inch closer to homeownership.

Despite the financial benefits and safety assurance of living underground, Caitlin acknowledges some downsides. Adjusting to a windowless environment and maintaining a regular sleep schedule were initial challenges she faced. Yet, she has found unexpected benefits such as high-quality sleep due to the quiet surroundings and increased work productivity without external distractions.

While concerns about safety linger among her TikTok followers, Caitlin emphasizes precautions like strong door hydraulics and backup measures in case of emergencies. She remains optimistic about her temporary underground abode, intending to make minor updates to personalize the space and make it feel more like home.

As Caitlin continues her bunker adventure, speculation arises about whether her strategy to wait out the housing market will yield success. Real estate professionals caution against solely relying on market fluctuations, advocating for a well-rounded approach that aligns with individual needs and financial readiness.

Whether Caitlin’s unconventional housing choice will lead to homeownership or remain a memorable escapade, her story sheds light on the innovative ways individuals navigate the challenges of the real estate landscape.


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