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How Much Can You Save By Having a Roommate?

By Amy Zimmer | October 4, 2016 5:01pm
 When comparing one- and two-bedrooms, sharing could save you more than $1,00 a month, a report found.
When comparing one- and two-bedrooms, sharing could save you more than $1,00 a month, a report found.
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How much rent can you save by having a roommate?

How about $1,030 a month?

That’s the estimate calculated using the average rent for a one-bedroom and average rent of a two-bedroom split in half, from SmartAsset, a site that has interactive tools to help users make decisions about home buying and investing.

The average rent for a one-bedroom was $2,981 a month while the average rent for a two-bedroom was $3,723 a month, the site found, using data from MyApartmentMap.com.

The calculations assume a two-bedroom’s rent is split evenly, which means roommates would pay $1,862 for their rooms, on average.

That adds up to $12,360 less for the year than you’d pay for the one-bedroom.

It’s still a hefty sum for many New Yorkers.

Landlords often require their tenants earn 40 times the monthly rent. To pay that, you’d need to earn about $74,500 a year.

Nearly 900,000 city households — or roughly 42 percent of New York’s renters — are considered rent burdened, which means they spend more than a third of their income on rent, according to a report from the Citizen’s Budget Commission.

One in five New York renters are considered “severely” rent burdened, spending more than 50 percent of their income on rent, the report found.

And as many New Yorkers with roommates know, rent is often not split evenly.

Sometimes the person holding the lease will charge roommates more for their share or sometimes renters will pay according to the size of their room or whether there’s a closet or window.  And, of course, many New Yorkers end up splitting one-bedrooms, using pressurized walls or makeshift separators like curtains or bookcases, since even the cost of two-bedrooms is prohibitively expensive for many.

Mdrn. Residential broker Kobi Lahav recently had a client who was looking for a studio for herself after sharing a two-bedroom apartment with two other young women. The situation became problematic when one of the roommates got into a relationship and was making a lot of noise when engaged in amorous activities.

The client, however was surprised to learn that paying $1,250 a month for her share in a “convertible-three” on the Upper East Side in a doorman building with laundry would cost her about $2,500 for a studio in a comparable building.

“Needless to say, she decided to stay with her roommates when she realized how much more expensive it would be for her to get a studio,” Lahav said.