Bad Economy Turns Renters Into Roommates: Recession Has Renters Tripling Up Instead of Doubling Up to Save Money

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After reviewing rental search trends nationwide, has seen a dramatic shift in renter demand, the cause of which is unquestionably the difficult economic times. Since the recession began in 2007, a significant drop in searches for 1 bedroom apartments has been mirrored by an increase in searches for 3 bedroom apartments, suggesting that renters are saving money by moving in together.

Since the recession officially began in Dec 2007 renters have searched increasingly for 3 bedroom apartments over 1 bedroom apartments.

Faced with uncertain economic times, renters around the nation are saving money on their monthly housing costs by opting to split a 3-bedroom apartment rather than living alone in more expensive 1-bedroom apartments. MyNewPlace, one of the largest online apartment listing sites, recently conducted a survey of internal search data, which showed that the share of searches for 3-bedroom apartments made significant gains at the expense of 1-bedroom apartments since the beginning of 2008.

Based on a sample of nearly 10 million searches for 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments that took place on between January 2008 and June 2009, the percentage of searches for 3-bedroom apartments consistently increased each quarter while searches for 1-bedroom apartments decreased. The share of searches for 2-bedroom apartments meanwhile stayed steady, suggesting that instead of 'doubling up,' renters are tripling up for even greater rent savings.

Since monthly rents are often lower per bedroom the more bedrooms an apartment has, the changing search patterns reflect an overall trend of renters looking for more economical housing options without sacrificing ideal locations and amenities.

Top Ten Cities for Roommates Looking to Save on Housing

Where are savvy renters saving money by moving in with roommates? Combining regional search data with average prices for apartments listed on MyNewPlace, put together a list of the top ten cities where renters are saving:

  •     Washington, DC: Not surprisingly, the cities with the highest rents often offer the highest potential for savings. The share of 3-bedroom searches in the area around the nation's capital has grown by 87%, with renters saving as much as $800/month by bunking up--nearly $10,000 per year.
  •     Philadelphia: Faced with high housing costs, renters in the City of Brotherly Love are getting friendlier than ever, with searches for 3-bedroom apartments more than doubling, with average savings of around $490 per month.
  •     Atlanta: Atlanta saw 1-bedroom searches decline by half and 3-bedroom searches more than double, as eager renters pursued $413/month savings by moving in with roommates.
  •     San Jose: Silicon Valley renters sought to mitigate the area's notoriously expensive rents by finding roommates--at a savings of more than $600/month.
  •     Chicago: Windy City residents braced against the chilly economic climate by cozying up with roommates, doubling up their 3-bedroom searches, to the tune of $560/month savings.
  •     Denver: Renters are tripling up in the Mile High City at some of the highest rates in the country, and saving nearly $350/month in the process.
  •     Los Angeles: In the City of Angels, even the beautiful people are moving in together. Three beautiful people under one roof could save more than $525 each.
  •     Seattle: 3-bedroom search share increased 113% from January 2008 to June 2009, with savings of up to $500/month for each roommate. That's a lot of cups of coffee.
  •     Las Vegas: Nevadans aren't gambling when it comes to their housing costs. Las Vegas has seen the highest growth in 3-bedroom searches nationwide, and each roommate could be saving $360/month.
  •     Boston & Cambridge: Renters in the Boston area aren't tripling up at quite the rates of the rest of the cities on our list, but they should be--there's up $880/month to be saved.

For more information and city specific charts and data visit

About MyNewPlace

MyNewPlace is one of the Internet's largest and most innovative apartment rental websites, with more than three million unique visitors per month. A three-time BusinessWeek Best of the Web winner, MyNewPlace provides the multifamily marketing professional with the most innovative and cost-effective tools to fill their vacancies, including MyNewSite, the industry's most cost-effective website solution. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, MyNewPlace was founded in 2005 by John Helm, the founding CEO of AllApartments/SpringStreet, which became the number one apartment rental and relocation site on the Internet before its sale to Homestore in 1999. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Matt DiChiara
MyNewPlace Marketing Associate


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