[News] NYC renters paying extra to avoid roommates: Report

For many New Yorkers, premium prices are worth it to live alone.

According to a new data analysis from StreetEasy, local renters are prioritizing having their own space over living with roommates to cut costs. 

“When rents increase sharply, renters are usually more incentivized to live with roommates or family members to share the financial burden, which can open up more units for others to rent,” StreetEasy sums up in a new market report released Thursday. “However, as our data shows, many New Yorkers are instead choosing to pay up for their own place.”

Demand for rental listings with two or more bedrooms has “slowed rapidly” this fall following great interest this summer, StreetEasy determined based on its listing inquiry rate. Studios and one-bedroom units, however, remain “highly sought after.” 

The demand dip is unexpected, the report continued, as citywide asking rent has gone up 18% in the past year, to $3,353 per month — high enough that, based on real estate logic, renters should be looking to save by any means possible. And yet, the unwavering interest in studios and one-bedrooms since 2021, when the city reopened following the initial surge of the coronavirus pandemic, has continued. Interest in smaller units peaked this summer, StreetEasy noted, at which point demand for one-bedrooms and studios went up a whopping 200%. 

New Yorkers down to share space stand to save some $20,000 a year.
Getty Images/Tetra images RF
After falling to record lows in the thick of COVID, rents soared to record highs in 2022.
After falling to record lows in the thick of COVID, rents soared to record highs in 2022.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

For those who can stomach other people in their home, the discount is enormous: By sharing a two-bedroom, New Yorkers stand to save $14,900 a year per person, StreetEasy reported. Live in a three-bedroom — and that number rises to $20,300 per person. 

Still, work from home has made having one’s own space worth the price for many.

“As many renters are still working or studying remotely in a larger capacity than prior to COVID, it has become a necessity to fit a desk and have more privacy in their bedroom,” Compass agent James Finelli says in the report. “And as most shared apartments can be very space prohibitive, many renters have opted to find their own studio or one bedroom that does not pose the same challenges.”

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