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Living alone provides people with a variety of unique opportunities, like the ability to walk around the place naked, shamelessly dance to ’80s music, and neglect dirty dishes for weeks. But if District residents sacrifice a few of these amenities and opt for roommates, they can save thousands of dollars a year, according to a recent study.
The study, published by personal finance company SmartAsset, says a D.C. renter who lives with a roommate in a two-bedroom apartment will save an average of $578 a month compared to a renter living in a one-bedroom apartment. That translates to an annual savings of $6,936.
Using information from MyApartmentMap, SmartAsset put the average monthly rent of a one-bedroom unit in the District at $1,966 and at $2,776 for a two-bedroom. Assuming two people occupy a two-bedroom apartment and equally split rent, each person would pay $1,388 a month.
“I think a lot of renters would ideally enjoy living alone,” says Nick Wallace, who authored the study and works as SmartAsset’s data editor. “But definitely in these more expensive cities, from a financial perspective, it would make more sense for people who are on a budget to be moving from one-bedroom apartments to the two-bedroom apartments.”
In the absence of a significant other or tolerable friend, many D.C. residents turn to Craigslist to find a roommate. But if that fails, they can turn to paid roommate matching services, like Roomie Match. Co-owner Robin Owsley says her matching service doesn’t have difficulty completing its mission, despite the increase in demand for certain housing types. But she did share a few requested amenities that may slow down the roommate matching process: having large animals, wanting an apartment in a neighborhood with high-performing schools, and expecting to pay $400 a month for a space.
“Folks that already live in D.C. rarely are that unrealistic, actually,” Owsley said in an email. “But occasionally, you get someone trying to move from Kansas or Alabama or some other less expensive place, and they’re initially unaware things cost more where they’re trying to move.”
SmartAsset’s study uses data based off the 50 largest U.S. cities and averages the rent of each city. This method doesn’t take into account the different rent prices among neighborhoods in the District (the average rent for a one-bedroom in Georgetown is $2600), so residents in certain areas of D.C. could hypothetically save more than $578 a month if they choose to rent two-bedrooms.
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