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What having a roommate saves you in D.C. rent

More than $8,600 a year, according to a recent study

A brick apartment building in Washington, D.C.
A residential building in D.C.
Shutterstock

Two heads are better than one when it comes to spending less on rental costs in the District, a recent study by financial adviser SmartAsset finds. Tenants who rent with a roommate can save $718 a month on average—or $8,616 annually—by splitting the rent on the typical two-bedroom apartment in the city instead of renting the typical one-bedroom apartment alone.

SmartAsset’s numbers are based on the difference between the average rental cost for a one-bedroom apartment and that for a two-bedroom apartment from April 2018 to April 2019, as reported by listings service Rent Jungle. Those were $2,101 a month and $2,766 a month, respectively. So, divvying up the rent for the average two-bedroom apartment in D.C. would cost each roommate $1,383 a month, or $718 a month less than the rent for the average one-bedroom apartment. SmartAsset ranked D.C. eighth among U.S. cities for this kind of saving.

A map of the U.S. showing the top 10 cities where renting with a roommate saves the most: San Francisco, New York, San Jose, Boston, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Miami, and Long Beach, California.
U.S. cities with the biggest savings from splitting rent with a roommate
SmartAsset

“There is a wide range in roommate savings across the 50 big cities we considered,” writes the firm. “The amount per month saved by having a roommate in San Francisco is roughly $500 more than the average saved across all cities and almost $900 more than the amount saved in the last city on our list, Detroit, Michigan.” Meanwhile, the yearly household income necessary to “comfortably” afford the average two-bedroom in D.C. is $132,000, SmartAsset recently found. That’s in order to spend no more than 28 percent of one’s income on the rent.