As it gets more and more difficult to afford rising rents in cities like Seattle, renters looking to cut costs should think about giving up a little privacy and taking on a roommate or two. Before you roll your eyes at the prospect of inviting a stranger into your home, consider the potential savings.
How much renters can expect to save in which cities across the U.S. is the focus of a new report from Trulia, the real estate company that is part of Seattle-based Zillow Group.
Trulia looked at affordability in the top 25 rental markets, and found that on average a renter can save 13 percent of his or her income by getting a roommate. That’s a big deal for millennials in particular, as Trulia previously reported that the percentage of the 18-34 generation living with parents or other family members is at a 75-year high.
In Seattle, for instance, it pays to split the rent on a two-bedroom apartment rather than try to go it alone in a one-bedroom rental. Trulia reports the prevailing rent on a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle is $1,550 a month. Renters could save $541 a month (34.9 percent) by splitting a two-bedroom apartment.
The savings is amplified if a three-bedroom rental is split between roommates, with a renter in Seattle saving $664 a month. Privacy dwindles with each additional roommate, and Trulia — which used 2016 listings data for the study — even calculated the drop in square footage per person as more people move in. In Seattle, the average one-bedroom apartment is 695 square feet. The square footage among two people drops to 518 each in a two bedroom and 533 each in a three bedroom.
All of this coincides with Trulia’s release of its revamped “Room for Rent” feature which makes it easy to post a room for rent or browse what’s out there.
Users input listing details including rent price and lease duration and upload photos showing off the shared space’s primary attributes. The feature works alongside Trulia’s Rental Resume tool which can surface the most desired prospective tenants. And information that Trulia pulls locally such as crime maps, local affordability trends, nearby bars and restaurants and more helps browsers select a neighborhood along with a home.