Believe it or not, some renters across the country are actually able to save money, according to a recent Zillow report that shows where the most millennials live on their own with relative affordability. At a time when one in five millennials still lives at home with mom and/or dad, it’s comforting to know some places make living easier on the new generation.

  • National median rent as of May 2016 is $1,407.
  • In Richmond, 15 percent of millennials live alone, making it the friendliest city for solo living.
  • Median rent in Richmond is $1,354 and accounts for only 26 percent of area renters' income – less than the national 30 percent affordability average.

Believe it or not, some renters across the country are actually able to save money, according to a recent Zillow report that shows where the most millennials live on their own with relative affordability. At a time when one in five millennials still lives at home with mom and/or dad, it’s comforting to know some places make living easier on the new generation.

Just two hours south of Washington D.C., where median rents in certain neighborhoods reach $3,037, sits Richmond, Virginia — the city with the highest percentage of millennials living on their own in Zillow’s study.

The reasons behind this are many, but some conclusions can be extrapolated from the area’s recent economic growth. Currently, unemployment in Richmond is only 5.7 percent (compared to the national 6.3 percent). Job growth over the next ten years forecasts 41.8 percent growth, according to BestPlaces.net. And roughly 14 percent of the population is employed in the management, business, and finance sectors while 24 percent are in sales, marketing and administration.

In Zillow’s report, the top ten cities for solo-living millennials are proximate to major markets, but none of those major markets are close to making an “Affordable Rental Market” list anytime soon.

Millennials living solo

Top ten cities where millennials are living solo. Courtesy Zillow.

In Washington D.C., where many commuters from Richmond travel everyday, affordable options from companies like GoToBus make the two-hour, one-way trip viable for job purposes. Sure, it’s a long drive in the morning and evening, but a relatively small price when compared to the cramped confines of your car.

Comparable rents in certain parts of the District are more than double that of Richmond’s $1,354 median. This means that locals are only spending about 26 percent of their income on rent, according to Zillow.

Zillow breaks down what it calls the “Breakeven horizon,” for every market in the country. In Richmond, the break-even horizon is only 2.3 years. This breakeven horizon shows that it’s financially a smarter move to rent in Richmond if you only plan on living there for 2.3 years — otherwise, buy property.

Email Britt Chester

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