WEIRD NEWS
04/08/2014 04:13 pm ET Updated Apr 08, 2014

Ready To Pay Big Bucks To Live In A Dirty Dumpster? Welcome To San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO — When does a dirty dumpster start to look like a waterfront condo? When you're living in San Francisco, the country's most expensive real-estate market.

A photographer no longer able to afford living in the city recently took pictures of things like dumpsters, mail boxes and manhole covers after putting "for rent" signs on them. He then paired them with tongue-in-cheek apartment listings showing the absurdity of surging prices in a series he calls "SF: For Rent."

Scroll down for photos.

Priced out of the city and now living across the Bay in Alameda, photographer Scot Hampton told HuffPost he got the idea after seeing Craigslist ads offering living-room couches or backyard tents as alternatives to bedrooms.

"I wanted to make a statement about it. It's humorous and depressing," said Hampton, who once considered renting a closet as a bedroom in San Francisco. "Those prices I put on there were almost too close to reality."

For one image, which he listed on Craigslist, Hampton photographed a graffiti-covered dumpster in a public plaza in a rundown section of the city undergoing redevelopment. His mock advertisement prices it at $5,000, and offers the following selling points: "Waterfront condo in the highly desirable, up-and-coming mid-Market area. Luxurious living at its finest! Enjoy the sounds and smells of the UN Plaza fountain as you relax in your condo after a hard day of complaining about the homeless...33 SQ. FT. Utilities not included, nor available."

At the start of the year, the average rental price per bedroom was $3,250 in the well-heeled Pacific Heights neighborhood, according to data from real-estate site Trulia. In the seedy Tenderloin district, one bedrooms averaged $1,898.

Affordable housing advocate Peter Cohen says Hampton's photos would be funny if there weren't such a critical urban problem behind them.

"You just have to take it as a lighthearted moment of humor in an environment that's very serious for folks," said Cohen, who is co-director of the San Francisco Council of Community Housing Organizations. "It's smart, it's cute and it's attention grabbing."

Check out Scot Hampton's "SF: For Rent" listings:

  • Garden Penthouse Studio
    Scot Hampton
    $7350. Garden penthouse studio in mid-Market area. Light and Airy! You'll enjoy the fresh breezes of Market street as they blow through your perfectly manicured and landscaped garden. Coveted mid-market area, close to shops and right on the major Muni and BART lines. Landscaping included. Utilities not included.
  • Studio Loft
    Scot Hamilton
    $3000. Government housing. Section 8 OK! Studio loft with vaulted ceiling! Located in Financial District, near Market street. Close to shops, food and public transportation. 2.17 SQ. FT. Utilities not included.
  • Quaint Inlaw Unit
    Scot Hamilton
    $2100. Quaint Inlaw unit with open floor plan. Right on several major Muni lines. Close to UN Plaza, in highly desirable mid-Market area. 1.35 SQ. FT. Daily housekeeping included!
  • Basement 1 BR
    Scot Hamilton
    $3500. Spacious basement apartment. Classic architecture; very Romanesque and gothic! Arched interiors! Close to public transportation. PG&E not included. Not ADA-compliant; requires the use of a ladder for entry.
  • Studio Container
    Scot Hamilton
    $2000. Container living in SOMA! All the rage, modern container living right in SOMA! Studio container with open floor plan, built-in bench and rooftop garden. Close to SFMOMA, Yerba Buena Gardens, shops and public transportation. Utilities not included. Please DO NOT DISTURB current tenant!
  • Cozy "Studio"
    Scot Hamilton
    $4100. Cozy "studio" with skylights right in the heart of the rapidly redeveloping mid-Market area. Daily housekeeping included! Right on several major Muni lines, and close to BART. Perfect for the daily commuter. Utilities not included. .83 SQ. FT
  • Waterfront Condo
    Scot Hamilton
    $5000. Waterfront condo in the highly desirable, up-and-coming mid-Market area. Luxurious living at its finest! Enjoy the sounds and smells of the UN Plaza fountain as you relax in your condo after a hard day of complaining about the homeless. Close to public transportation, Civic Center Farmers Market, @Twitter, the @Tenderloin and several aggressive seagulls. 33 SQ. FT. Utilities not included, nor available.

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