Bad Economy Turns Renters Into Roommates: Recession Has Renters Tripling Up Instead of Doubling Up to Save Money
San Francisco, CA—Faced with uncertain economic times, renters around the nation are saving money on their monthly housing costs by opting to split a 3-bedroom apartment rather than living alone in more expensive 1-bedroom apartments. MyNewPlace, one of the largest online apartment listing sites, recently conducted a survey of internal search data, which showed that the share of searches for 3-bedroom apartments made significant gains at the expense of 1-bedroom apartments since the beginning of 2008.
Based on a sample of nearly 10 million searches for 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments that took place on MyNewPlace.com between January 2008 and June 2009, the percentage of searches for 3-bedroom apartments consistently increased each quarter while searches for 1-bedroom apartments decreased. The share of searches for 2-bedroom apartments meanwhile stayed steady, suggesting that instead of ‘doubling up,’ renters are tripling up for even greater rent savings.
Since monthly rents are often lower per bedroom the more bedrooms an apartment has, the changing search patterns reflect an overall trend of renters looking for more economical housing options without sacrificing ideal locations and amenities.
Top Ten Cities for Roommates Looking to Save on Housing
Where are savvy renters saving money by moving in with roommates? Combining regional search data with average prices for apartments listed on MyNewPlace, MyNewPlace.com put together a list of the top ten cities where renters are saving:
- Washington, DC: Not surprisingly, the cities with the highest rents often offer the highest potential for savings. The share of 3-bedroom searches in the area around the nation’s capital has grown by 87%, with renters saving as much as $800/month by bunking up—nearly $10,000 per year.
- Philadelphia: Faced with high housing costs, renters in the City of Brotherly Love are getting friendlier than ever, with searches for 3-bedroom apartments more than doubling, with average savings of around $490 per month.
- Atlanta: Atlanta saw 1-bedroom searches decline by half and 3-bedroom searches more than double, as eager renters pursued $413/month savings by moving in with roommates.
- San Jose: Silicon Valley renters sought to mitigate the area’s notoriously expensive rents by finding roommates—at a savings of more than $600/month.
- Chicago: Windy City residents braced against the chilly economic climate by cozying up with roommates, doubling up their 3-bedroom searches, to the tune of $560/month savings.
- Denver: Renters are tripling up in the Mile High City at some of the highest rates in the country, and saving nearly $350/month in the process.
- Los Angeles: In the City of Angels, even the beautiful people are moving in together. Three beautiful people under one roof could save more than $525 each.
- Seattle: 3-bedroom search share increased 113% from January 2008 to June 2009, with savings of up to $500/month for each roommate. That’s a lot of cups of coffee.
- Las Vegas: Nevadans aren’t gambling when it comes to their housing costs. Las Vegas has among the highest growth in 3-bedroom searches nationwide, and each roommate could be saving $360/month.
- Boston & Cambridge: Renters in the Boston area aren’t tripling up at quite the rates of the rest of the cities on our list, but they should be—there’s up $880/month to be saved.