In their ongoing effort to track and identify trends in the nation’s housing market, Zillow’s analysts have identified an interesting one. It turns out in numerous major metro areas, adults are resorting to roommate scenarios in an effort to lessen the sting of the rising cost of rent. In the decade spanning from 2000 to 2010, the number of households with two or more working-age adults that were neither married nor romantic partners, rose from 25.4 percent to 30.8 percent.
This trend is viewed as a direct response to the fact that compared to average wages, rental prices are unaffordable for many. Zillow’s study revealed that, “Americans making the national median income of $53,216, should currently expect to spend nearly 30 percent of their monthly income on rent.” According to Zillow, this represents the highest rate ever. As a result, working adults are pooling their resources to broaden their options.
To comprehend the scale in which this is taking place, just consider these metro areas that have the largest share of adults living with roommates: Los Angeles (47.9 percent), Miami (44.5 percent), New York (42.5 percent) and San Diego (39.7 percent).
Of course, it does not take a rocket scientist to realize that these metro areas are some of the country’s most expensive areas in which to live. Zillow analysts report that in San Francisco rent took 25 percent of one’s median income in 2000. In 2012, it was up to 40 percent. Since a chunk of change that size leaves little for much else, it is not surprising that more folks are sharing living expenses. It certainly makes saving up for a future home purchase easier!
If a co-tenant arrangement sounds like something you’d like to explore, here are a few tips from blogger Nicholas Brown. He earned his Masters from Northeastern University, operates the site JustRentToOwn.com, and has had numerous roommate experiences. Brown believes that the majority of issues in these situations arise from the aspects of cleaning, sharing and sleeping. Here are his suggestions for easy living (together).
- Communicate, be honest and be a good listener.
- Do not let problems snowball. Address them and work out a resolution before they get out of hand.
- No passive aggressive written notes or feisty text messages. Discuss problems face to face in a calm manner.
- Be respectful of personal belongings and do not borrow anything without permission, ever.
- Keep your things together instead of spread throughout the shared living space.
- Discuss how common storage areas will be divided and organized.
- Set a standard for how common spaces such as the living room and kitchen should look after they have been tidied up. For example, are stacks of newspapers and kicked off shoes ok in the living room? How about clean dishes stacked up on the kitchen sideboard – ok or need to be put away? Spelling out what constitutes neat will prevent plenty of headaches and hurt feelings later on.
- Even if the place is in a stellar neighborhood, keep the doors and windows locked. This may seem like a given. However, in some situations folks come and go throughout the day and have an open door policy. When someone’s expensive laptop or diamond earrings go missing as a result, who is responsible? Commit to the “better safe than sorry” policy and lock up.
- Establish quiet times for work and sleep.
- Have a common bulletin board so there are no excuses when it comes to due dates on bills, trash day, and so on.
- Make a schedule for routine cleaning and chores. That way everyone can do their fair share, keep the place nice, and know what to expect – like today it’s your turn to scrub the shower and the toilet.
- Treat others the way you’d like to be treated and try to remain calm and flexible
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