Looking To Save Money On Rent? (Get a Roommate)

Originally posted on September 19, 2017 12:00 pm
Updated on November 15, 2017 4:45 pm

Would You Get a Roommate to Save 40% Off Your Rent?

One of the most common, although not necessarily the easiest, ways to lower your rent is to move out of that one-bedroom apartment, get a roommate, and move in to a two-bedroom apartment. It’s probably best if it’s not that boyfriend or girlfriend you’ve been dating for a few weeks nor that friend that’s just crashing on your couch “until he figures some stuff out”.

RentHop isn’t here to make life choices for you though, we just want to show you where you can save money and how much. A quick look at the monthly median rent differences in 9 major metro areas showed savings varied from 30.8% in Los Angeles all the way to 42.6% in DC.

Here Are Our Key Findings:

  • On average, across the US, one can expect to save around 40% off their monthly rent by sharing a two-bedroom versus having a one-bedroom alone
  • The most expensive and oldest neighborhoods generally had the lowest savings (~30%). Some such areas are Upper East Side(NYC), Beverly Hills(LA), South Pointe(Miami), and North Beach(SF)
  • Neighborhoods outside the city center or that were less expensive generally had greater savings (>40%) due to the lower incremental cost of an additional bedroom. Ocean Hill(NYC), West Roxbury(Boston), and Leesburg(DC) all had savings of over 45%
  • The most consistent determinant of savings was the presence of a second bathroom in a two-bedroom apartment. A 2-bedroom/2-bath can cost anywhere from 16% to 62% more than a 2-bedroom/1-bath
  • Dallas and Los Angeles bucked some of these trends, with a wider price gap between one & two-bedroom apartments, translating to less savings for those looking to get a roommate

The Map Below shows roommate savings in each city – Scroll Down for a table of savings by neighborhood

Variability drastically increased at the neighborhood level. Neighborhoods such as South Pointe, Miami Beach and Carnegie Hill / Upper East Side, New York showed little or no savings on the move to a two bedroom (the rent approximately doubles). In high-luxury areas like these there’s a higher occurrence of coveted two-bedroom two-bathroom apartments and less of those pesky two-bedroom “flex” apartments.

Other neighborhoods were at the other end of the spectrum: North Oakland (Bay Area) and West Side (Chicago) have median one & two-bedroom median rents that are very similar. This is often correlated with a rarity of one-bedroom apartments or where one-bedroom apartments are very similar in size to two-bedroom apartments. Flex bedroom apartments were filtered out of the data, with only “true” one & two-bedroom apartments being used to calculate median rent.

Flex rooms are made when a wall is put up to split a spacious one-bedroom into a two-bedroom. They are common especially in New York and San Francisco where new construction doesn’t meet the demand for housing and the desire for location outweighs the desire for space. An often-annoying occurrence for prospective renters is finding out an apartment advertised as a two-bedroom is “flex-able”, but actually doesn’t have the wall put in place yet. RentHop works to ensure these types of listings are properly classified; these apartments won’t be the reason one & two-bedroom apartment prices converge in some regions.

Bathrooms As a Determiner of Savings

Of all the compromises one must make when getting a roommate, sharing a bathroom puts people off the most. For good reason, as it’s usually the dirtiest room in a house. This can easily become a point of tension when shared by people with different hygiene standards. It should be no surprise then that one will need to pony up for a private porcelain throne.

So how much does a second bathroom affect rent?

In NYC the “get-a-roommate” savings drops to 16.1% for a two-bedroom apartment with at least 1.5 baths. In DC, Houston, and Miami the second bathroom had a less significant effect on the rent, likely due, in part, to the prevalence of additional bathrooms in a two-bedroom apartment.

The table below shows how an additional bathroom affects rents in different cities


We’ve Compiled A Table of Savings For All Neighborhoods In Nine Major Metros

Sort/re-sort by any parameter by clicking that column. Change cities by clicking the city’s tab and search for your neighborhood by typing it into the box.

A forthcoming apology from the RentHop data scientists: we’re sorry to have left out many neighborhoods and regions due to unavailability of accurate data. Luckily, many of the neighborhoods we call home are sub-neighborhoods of a larger region. If you don’t see your neighborhood, consider the name of the larger region and search for that.

Below are some Standout Nabes to get a Roommate in Each City (Most Savings)

Boston: Jamaica Hills – Pond (46.6%), West Roxbury (45.6%), Everett (45.5%)

Chicago: South Shore (49.7%), West Side (48.7%), South Side (47.1%)

Dallas: Arlington (40.1%), Glencoe Park (38.7%), Fort Worth (36.2%)

District of ColumbiaLeesburg (46.2%), Huntington (43.4%), Old Town North (42.1%)

HoustonBrazoria County (48%), Conroe (44%), Pearland (43.7%)

Los AngelesThe Colony (46%), Laguna Woods (45.8%), Chino Hills (45.8%)

MiamiNew Hampton (45.5%), Little Haiti (45%), San Matera at The Gardens (45%)

New York CityOcean Hill (48.7%), Gramercy Park (46.4%), East Shore (46.1%)

San Francisco Bay AreaNorth Oakland (47.5%), Lower Hills District (45.6%), The Old Quad (45.4%)

These are the Nabes NOT to get a Roommate in Each City (Least Savings)

Boston: Oak Grove (20.5%), Back Bay East (24.8%), Lowell (26.3%)

Chicago: Kilbourn Park (-5.3%),  Addison (7.8%), Berwyn (14.9%)

Dallas: City Center District (7.1%), Henderson (7.5%), North Oaklawn (10%)

District of Columbia: Downtown Alexandria (5.4%), Prince William County (10%), North Rosslyn (11.8%)

Houston: Washington Ave – Memorial Park (13.8%), Greater Heights (14.1%), Memorial (16.7%)

Los Angeles: City Center (-3.1%), Silver Lake (1.7%), Downtown Huntington Beach (7.2%)

Miami: South Pointe (0%), Barrier Island (7.3%), Fleetwood (8.4%)

New York City: Carnegie Hill (8.3%), West New York (13.9%), Battery Park City (16.3%)

San Francisco Bay Area: Downtown Berkeley (15.8%), North Beach (21.5%), Telegraph Hill (21.5%)


RentHop knows there are many things you consider before getting an apartment. Cost and location are undeniably among the top considerations for most people, but we’re all different. Make your choices based on what’s right for you.

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