Renters in the most expensive markets typically save the most by living with a roommate and renting a room in a shared home or apartment, according to a release from HotPads’ first Rooms for Rent Index.
- The median rent for a single bedroom in a shared home or apartment is $805 in the United States, compared to $1,320 for the median one-bedroom unit.
- As rent prices increase, having a roommate saves renters more money. San Francisco and Los Angeles renters can save more than $1,000 on their rent each month by renting a room and sharing common areas.
- Of renters in the 25 largest markets, renters in Houston and St. Louis save the least by getting a roommate.
“Privacy comes at a price in the rental market, and increasingly it’s a price that renters are unwilling or unable to pay,” said Joshua Clark, economist at HotPads, in the release.
“For the past 30 years, wages have stagnated while rent prices and student-loan debt have been on the rise. Finding a roommate or renting out that extra bedroom can help renters keep up with these rising expenses – particularly in expensive rental markets where housing affordability is a major concern,” Clark said.
Living with a roommate best in expensive markets
Renters in the country’s most expensive rental markets can save the most by renting a single room instead of an entire unit. San Francisco and Los Angeles renters can typically spend more than $2,100 per month on a typical one-bedroom apartment and more than $1,100 per month on a room for rent – about a $1,000 difference. Meanwhile, renters in New York City can expect to save about $940 each month by having a roommate, according to the release.
As rent prices rise and housing affordability continue to be a top concern, many renters pair up with roommates to cut down on housing costs. About 30 percent of U.S. renters lived with a roommate in 2017, up from about 28 percent of renters in 2012 and 24 percent of renters in 2007.
One-bedroom rent prices vary widely across the country – in the top 25 metro areas, the median one-bedroom rent ranges from $895 to $2,515 per month. In comparison, the typical cost of a room for rent is fairly steady – the median asking price for a room for rent in the top 25 metro areas ranges from $670 to $1,430 per month. Because one-bedroom rent prices are more variable, getting a roommate in the most expensive rental markets becomes more economical as rent prices rise.
However, renters in some Southern and Midwestern markets where one-bedroom apartments are relatively affordable save less when they split the rent. Renters in Houston save $160 per month by sharing their home or apartment with a roommate instead of renting an entire one-bedroom unit, while renters in St. Louis save $205 per month.
Cost of rooms for rent and one-bedroom rents
HotPads is a Zillow® Group-owned apartment- and home-search platform for renters in urban areas across the United States. Renters can use a map-based search to find homes and apartments available for rent, as well as individual rooms listed for rent. For more information, visit HotPads.com.