DataMarkets & Economy

Where splitting rent makes the most financial sense

Living solo comes at a cost
  • It's generally less expensive to rent a two-bedroom with two incomes rather than rent a one-bedroom alone.
  • San Francisco offers the biggest savings for two-bedroom roommates, at $1,106 per month on average.
  • New York City is the no. 2 most financially advantageous city for roommates, with an average $1,030 monthly savings per person.

Splitting rent by finding friends on Craigslist or even moving back in with mom and dad are popular tactics these days, largely due to rapidly rising housing costs. Most of the time, renting a two-bedroom and cutting the total fees two ways is cheaper than renting a one-bedroom on a single salary.

But where does splitting housing costs between two people save the most money?

A new study from SmartAsset shows two-bedrooms cut in half are remarkably cheaper than one-bedrooms in costly cities like San Francisco and New York City, while smaller locales like Tucson and Cleveland cost just a few hundred more for the solo lifestyle.

splitting rent savings

Costly coasts

In San Francisco, the average rent of a two-bedroom apartment divided in half is $1,106 less than the cost of a one-bedroom, the report shows.

To put it into perspective, renters looking to spend less than 30 percent of income on one-bedroom rent would need to make approximately $152,057 per year, according to SmartAsset, proving just how difficult it is to rent alone in the City by the Bay.

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NYC is the second-best locale for splitting rent, with an average savings of $1,030 for a two-bedroom split compared to a one-bedroom alone. A standard one-bedroom apartment costs $2,891, while the average studio costs $2,587 per month — two staggering figures that keep the Big Apple among the costliest rental markets year after year.

Washington D.C. is the sixth-best city for roommate savings, according to the report. Splitting rent on a two-bedroom unit provides around $590 in savings per person each month compared to renting a one-bedroom with a single income.

San Diego and Los Angeles provide similar savings on splitting rent instead of living alone, at $564 and $558, respectively. In L.A., shacking up saves $6,696 per year for each roommate, which is a good start toward a down payment.

With an average one-bedroom rent of $1,550 and two-bedroom rent of $2,049, Miami renters who share a lease can save $526 per month, leaving their total monthly responsibility at a lesser $1,025 per month.

Roommates in Chicago save an average $524 per month, paying $886 a piece for the average two-bedroom monthly rent. To live alone, Chicagoans pay an average $1,410 for a one-bedroom unit.

Sharing space in Austin saves $405 per roommate each month when splitting rent on the average two-bedroom, which costs a total of $1,498. For solo-minded Austin residents, the average one-bedroom is $1,154 per month.

Houston’s one-bedroom rent is $1,024 per month, while the two-bedroom average rent is $1,415 per month – leaving each person’s responsibility at $708 per month. The different in cost winds up saving each renter $317 per month.

Email Jennifer Riner