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What a Roommate Can Save You in 100 U.S. Cities – 2024 Study

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For many people, housing is the biggest cost in their budget, and sharing expenses with a roommate can help them save money. But, with housing costs varying widely nationwide, how much could you save by sharing a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate instead of renting a one-bedroom alone?

To answer this question, SmartAsset evaluated median apartment rents in 100 of the largest cities and ranked them by the dollar amount you would save if you rented a two-bedroom apartment with someone else, versus renting a one-bedroom apartment on your own.

Key Findings

  • Getting a roommate will save you over $1,865 per month in New York City. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $4,200 in New York City, compared with $4,670 for a two-bedroom. This means that upgrading your apartment and adding a roommate will save an individual $1,865 per month. Overall, rents for one-bedroom apartments increased by 24.6% over the last year. For two-bedroom apartments, the growth in median costs was 22.3%.
  • You can save over $1,100 per month or more by getting a roommate in two other cities. With New York City housing demand extending beyond state borders, Jersey City residents can save $1,350 each per month by living together in a two-bedroom apartment instead of solo in a one-bedroom. In Boston, the roommates each save an average of $1,125.
  • The cost of a two-bedroom apartment rose by nearly 30% in just one year in Chicago. The median two-bedroom price went from $2,100 to $2,660. This is compared to a 20.7% increase in one-bedroom apartment prices, from $1,740 last year to $2,100 this year. Despite this, Chicago ranked eighth for the amount of savings a roommate can bring, at $770 per month.
  • Rent for one-bedroom apartments decreased in half the cities, but some cities saw large jumps. Prices increased by 22.4% in Columbus, OH; 20.7% in Chicago, IL; 16.9% in Syracuse, NY; 16.0% in Lexington, KY; and 15.0% in Cleveland, OH over the span of one year.
  • Living alone is relatively cheap in these cities. Wichita, KS has the smallest difference in costs between a one-bedroom apartment alone versus two bedrooms with roommates: $250. Rents are also cheapest here at $690 for a one-bedroom and $880 for a two-bedroom. Tucson, AZ ($260); St. Louis, MO ($265); Omaha, NE ($300); and Cincinnati, OH ($305) also have some of the lowest premiums on living alone.

Top 10 Cities Where Getting a Roommate Saves You Most

  1. New York, New York
    The most drastic savings – $1,865 per month – is in NYC. Rather than pay the median $4,200 for a one-bedroom apartment, renters can split a $4,670 two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. The cost of a one-bedroom apartment increased 24.6% year over year, compared with 22.3% for two-bedrooms.
  2. Jersey City, NJ
    Rent for a one-bedroom averages $3,260 here, up 9% from last year. For a two-bedroom, it’s $3,820 per month, up 14.7%. With current prices, a roommate can save an individual $1,350 per month.
  3. Boston, MA
    Boston residents living solo can save $1,125 per month by opting for a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. One-bedrooms currently cost $2,850, compared with $3,450 for a two-bedroom. Prices went up 1.4% and 7.8% respectively over the last year.
  4. San Francisco, CA
    Rent for a one-bedroom is averaging $2,900 in San Francisco, compared with $3,850 for a two-bedroom. This equates to a $975 per month savings in a roommate situation. Prices actually declined rentals by roughly 3.5% in the last year.
  5. Miami, FL
    With one-bedroom costing $2,710 and two-bedrooms at $3,630, an individual can save $895 monthly with a roommate. Rents increased very modestly over the past year: 1.1% for one-bedroom apartments and 3.7% for two-bedroom apartments.
  6. Arlington, VA
    A roommate can save you an average of $860 per month with Arlington’s current prices. A one-bedroom currently goes for $2,340, up 2.6% from last year. Two-bedrooms went down by 1% to $2,960.
  7. San Jose, CA
    In San Jose, getting a roommate can save you $835 per month. This is with a one-bedroom apartment costing a median $2,450 and a two-bedroom costing $3,230. Prices declined 4.7% and 1.2%, respectively.
  8. Chicago, IL
    Chicago rents saw particularly high increases in just one year: 20.7% for a one-bedroom, up to $2,100, and 29.8% for a two-bedroom, up to $2,660. Renters opting for two bedrooms with a roommate save $770 per month.
  9. San Diego, CA
    A person opting for a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate can save $765 per month in San Diego, by splitting a $3,130 monthly cost instead of paying $2,330 on their own. One-bedroom prices declined by 1.7% while two-bedroom prices increased by 1%.
  10. Washington, DC
    One-bedroom rents declined by 2.2% to $2,270, compared with a 5.6% decline in two-bedroom rents to $3,020. This would save a renter $760 per month if they split rent with a roommate.

Top 10 Cities Where Getting a Roommate Saves You Least

  1. Wichita, KS
    Rent in Wichita is lowest studywide for a one-bedroom apartment at $690. A two-bedroom averages $880, for only a $250 per month savings for an individual. One-bedroom prices declined by 1.4% over the past year compared with 3.5% growth in two-bedroom prices.
  2. Tucson, AZ
    Renters can save $260 per month between the one-bedroom rents at $910 and two-bedroom at $1,300. Prices respectively grew 1.1% and 4.0% in the last year.
  3. St. Louis, MO
    Rents for one-bedroom apartments increased 2.2% to $920 in St. Louis, and increased by 0.8% to $1,310 for two-bedroom apartments. This means an individual stands to save an average of $265 per month.
  4. Omaha, NE
    In Omaha, the difference between $990 rent in a one-bedroom versus splitting a $1,380 two-bedroom rent yields $300 in savings per person per month. Prices grew by 4.2% this year for one-bedroom apartments and 4.5% for two bedrooms.
  5. Cincinnati, OH
    One-bedroom rents average $1,000 this year in Cincinnati, and $1,390 for two bedrooms after growing by 2.0% and 6.1%. Savings with a roommate at these prices would be $305 per month.
  6. Akron, OH
    Rents are particularly cheap in Akron. One-bedrooms grew by 1.3% to $760 per month, compared with $900 per month for a two-bedroom apartment (after 5.9% annual growth). Savings come out to $310 per month with a roommate.
  7. Lincoln, NE
    Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $840 in Lincoln, compared with $1,060 for a two-bedroom. This equates to $310 monthly savings with a roommate, and comes after respective 6.3% and 6.0% rent increases.
  8. Albuquerque, NM
    Renters with a roommate in a $1,270 two-bedroom apartment stand to save $315 per month over living alone in a one-bedroom apartment that costs $950. One-bedroom rents grew by 5.6% this year, versus a 3.1% decline in two-bedroom rents.
  9. Oklahoma City, OK
    One-bedroom rent increased by 3.6% this year to $860, while two-bedroom rents maintained a $1,050 average. This leads to a savings of $335 per month with a roommate.
  10. Bakersfield, CA
    Adding a roommate to the mix can save you $335 monthly in Bakersfield. One-bedroom rents currently average $1,040 after a 1% growth in prices, while two-bedroom rents grew by 6.0% to $1,410.

Data and Methodology

To find the cities where a roommate saves you the most, SmartAsset examined data from 100 of the largest U.S. cities. We compared them across these two metrics:

  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment. Data comes from Zumper and covers monthly rent prices from March 2023 through March 2024.
  • Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment. Data comes from Zumper and covers monthly rent prices from March 2023 through March 2024.

Using this data, we measured how much a person could save in each city by choosing a shared two-bedroom apartment over a one-bedroom apartment by themselves. To do this, we compared the cost of a one-bedroom with half the cost of a two-bedroom for each city, assuming each roommate pays equal rent.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/FG Trade

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