Seattle residents and transplants faced with the increasingly difficult task of finding available and affordable housing got a new tool to help in that process as Roomi, the app for finding a roommate, launched in the city today.
The Roomi iOS and Android apps as well as the desktop experience are designed for those seeking to rent out empty rooms as well as those searching for a new home. The service — billed as the “safest way to search, chat and move” — launched a year ago in New York and is now available in Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Boston, and Chicago.
The push into Seattle comes at a time when the city’s well-documented tech boom is putting the squeeze on renters. Roomi’s news release cites data from the website Rent Jungle, which says the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle is $1,604 a month, and a two-bedroom is $2,125.
Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and Roomi says it’s about 24 percent more expensive than the typical U.S. city. GeekWire previously reported on a study that attached a yearly dollar figure to what it would cost to live comfortably in Seattle.
“The rising cost of housing is outpacing wage growth, which is a real problem for many people living in Seattle,” Ajay Yadav, CEO and founder of Roomi, said in a news release. “While wealthy newcomers are helping to revitalize neighborhood business districts, the reality is that the city is becoming too expensive for nearly half the population, and many renters are being forced to move out of Seattle altogether.”
The Roomi platform lets users create a profile and search for shared living accommodations, housemates and rooms simply and quickly. The company says that every listing is vetted and verified by dedicated security specialists before going live in the platform’s database.
Users who register or placing a listing answer personality and lifestyle questions such as pet preferences, smoking habits and more, as well as the more standard location and price range inquiries, according to Roomi. The app translates the answers into a detailed profile, allowing users to search for housing and housemates who meet their needs and preferences. Listers can also view and message those who have viewed their rooms.
A few weeks ago on the Roomi Connect blog, a post foreshadowed the app’s move into Seattle by offering a primer on how to find affordable apartments in the city. With some insight into how to navigate a city without rent control, Roomi also listed tips to dealing with the market. The last item on the list? Get a roommate, obviously.