High Rents Lead Newlyweds to Seek Roommates

Posted On Fri, April 10, 2015 By

Posted On Fri, April 10, 2015 By In City Living, real estate trends

Image via Ramsey Beyer on flickr

For most New Yorkers, moving to the big apple means finding a roommate. And while switching from the dorms to another no-privacy situation isn’t ideal, we usually slog through it because we tell ourselves it’s only temporary. For many people, the light at the end of the tunnel is marriage–finally settling down and shacking up–but a story today in the New York Times takes a look at the increasing trend of newly married people living with roommates thanks to the city’s ever-rising rents.

As the Times reports, roommate-finding website SpareRoom.com had 1,076 ads for available rooms last month; 20% of them noted that couples were welcome. Similarly, of the 1,632 ads of people seeking rooms, 10% were posted by couples. Twenty-eight-year-old Josh Jupiter, who, along with his 26-year-old wife, posted an ad on the site looking for a roommate to join their two bedroom in Bed Stuy, told the paper: “If we were in Iowa, it would be weird. If we were in Michigan, it would be weird. In New York City, it’s like, ‘How many people can you cram into an apartment, married or not?’ We live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.” According to data from Douglas Elliman, “The median monthly rent in March in Manhattan was $3,395, up 6.1 percent over the same period in 2014, the second highest level reached in more than seven years.” In fact, the average rent for just a studio is $2,691. And Brooklyn and Queens are not much better.

The trend aligns with the fact that most millennials in New York City, even those who have the cash for a down payment, are still choosing to rent, so perhaps the trade off for living in a central location closer to transportation in a nicer building is a roommate. There’s also a pattern among newlyweds in New York where they’ll spend the first few years of married life in the city, then relocate to the suburbs where they’ll start a family. Having another person with whom to split the rent allows these couples to save more for when they eventually do make the big move.

For some couples, though, it’s not about the financials, it’s a lifestyle choice. Take for example 34-year-old Michelle Higa Fox. In 2005, she bought a two-family house in Williamsburg, enlisting five friends to share the home and pay her rent. A few years later, the man who would become her husband moved in and they lived in the upstairs two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. They then moved downstairs to a larger space, but also shared it with a roomie. The four-story house has seen a rotating cast of characters over the years, creating a community that shares clothes and attends each other’s barbeques. Then there’s the Clinton Hill townhouse turned “Pop-Up Mansion” that we covered. While the homeowner and her fiancé renovate their residence, three other professional ladies are renting rooms in what they call “a sorority for outstanding ascendant young creative professional women.”

Whether it be for financial or social reasons, would you live with a roommate once you tie the knot? Let us know in the comments.

[Via NYT]

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