Where to Get an Extra Room for Less Money

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Survey reveals that a third of apartment-hunters look for rentals with an extra bedroom to call „home office,” as 75% don’t have a dedicated space in their apartments for work. Upsizing by one extra room costs about $330, on average, our analysis shows.

While some workers are gradually returning to offices this summer, many will still be able to do their jobs from home permanently — either full-time or in a hybrid system — and this is true for apartment renters, as well. To learn more about their arrangements, we surveyed more than 20,000 renters on rentcafe.com in May 2021 about working from their apartments and how they were managing in terms of space. What we found was that one-third (33%) of respondents confirmed that they were and would continue to work from home either full- or part-time for the foreseeable future. 

Granted, space has been a persistent challenge for apartment-dwellers in the last year and a half. But, for that one-third, the realization that working from home is now a more permanent set-up has just turned a temporary need for extra space into a long-term necessity. 

 

35% of Apartment Renters are Trading Up

After months of getting creative with their work-from-home set up, the confirmation that the home office is now a permanent fixture has encouraged 35% of WFH apartment-dwellers to upsize their apartment and set up a proper workspace. As you might expect, the most eager to upsize were renters currently living in studios, with a whopping 60% saying they were ready for a change. Similarly, 40% of respondents living in 1-bedroom apartments were also actively looking to upgrade to apartments with two or more bedrooms.

 

Notably, a considerable share of renters in 2-bedroom apartments want a larger space, as well, with 22% desiring to upgrade. That’s because, according to a recent poll, the biggest challenge for remote workers is the inability to unplug and separate the professional from the personal. And, not having a dedicated room for work that you could just leave at the end of the day can certainly make disconnecting considerably more difficult.

Price of Upgrading Comparable to Average Commute Cost

Nationally, upgrading to a larger apartment costs 24% more per month, on average, based on our analysis of rents in all types of apartments. This means that, regardless of the size of the apartment you live in — either a studio, or a 1- or 2-bedroom — you’re likely to pay an average of $337 for that extra room. Therefore, considering that the average commuting cost can be $417 per month, you can technically use the money saved on transportation to upgrade and add that much-needed dedicated workspace. However, your home city might be different.

Use the calculator below to find out how much money you could pay or save if you rent a larger apartment in your preferred city.

Cities with Lowest Upgrading Costs

To determine where you can upgrade your apartment and get an extra bedroom for the least financial effort, we compared the percentage difference in rent in the 100 largest cities. A few highlights are listed below:

If you live in Modesto, CA or Stockton, CA you’re in luck. The two cities share the crown as the least expensive locations if you want to upsize your apartment. Here, upgrading will increase your monthly rent by only 11%. This translates to an average of $148 more per month in Modesto and $131 more in Stockton — or the average price of a three-course meal for two people.

Likewise, upgrading your apartment in Memphis, TN costs just 12% more, adding an average of $104 to your rent, to be more exact. What’s more, this is actually lower than the average monthly transportation cost in the city ($185). So, in addition to repurposing the time spent on commuting, you would also be able to redirect your money toward getting more square footage.

The Extra Monthly Cost to Upsize Your Apartment in 100 Largest Cities

Rank City, State Extra % to Upsize Extra $ to Upsize
1 Stockton, CA 11% $131
2 Modesto, CA 11% $148
3 Memphis, TN 12% $104
4 Baltimore, MD 15% $191
5 Charlotte, NC 15% $193
6 Atlanta, GA 15% $224
7 Indianapolis, IN 16% $152
8 Birmingham, AL 16% $167
9 Boise, ID 16% $211
10 Nashville, TN 16% $219
11 Paradise, NV 17% $166
12 Columbus, OH 17% $167
13 Buffalo, NY 17% $168
14 Newark, NJ 17% $178
15 Durham, NC 17% $202
16 Tacoma, WA 17% $244
17 Oklahoma City, OK 18% $144
18 Kansas City, MO 18% $193
19 Milwaukee, WI 18% $210
20 Portland, OR 18% $265
21 Yonkers, NY 18% $346
22 Des Moines, IA 19% $174
23 Las Vegas, NV 19% $211
24 Jacksonville, FL 19% $215
25 Anaheim, CA 19% $364
26 Anchorage, AK 20% $209
27 Raleigh, NC 20% $242
28 Richmond, VA 20% $242
29 Colorado Springs, CO 20% $256
30 Chandler, AZ 20% $300
31 El Paso, TX 21% $171
32 Akron, OH 21% $176
33 Lincoln, NE 21% $205
34 Baton Rouge, LA 21% $210
35 Garland, TX 21% $228
36 Spokane, WA 21% $229
37 Pittsburgh, PA 21% $263
38 Riverside, CA 21% $346
39 Miami, FL 21% $370
40 Omaha, NE 22% $216
41 St. Louis, MO 22% $216
42 Corpus Christi, TX 22% $219
43 Fort Worth, TX 22% $258
44 Orlando, FL 22% $297
45 St. Petersburg, FL 22% $313
46 Scottsdale, AZ 22% $361
47 Irvine, CA 22% $535
48 Amarillo, TX 23% $176
49 Louisville, KY 23% $224
50 Cincinnati, OH 23% $239
51 Glendale, AZ 23% $269
52 Long Beach, CA 23% $476
53 Fort Wayne, IN 24% $193
54 Greensboro, NC 24% $230
55 Houston, TX 24% $255
56 Bakersfield, CA 24% $269
57 Irving, TX 24% $282
58 Dallas, TX 24% $296
59 San Jose, CA 24% $582
60 Tulsa, OK 25% $189
61 Albuquerque, NM 25% $231
62 Fresno, CA 25% $297
63 Phoenix, AZ 25% $311
64 Tampa, FL 25% $341
65 Denver, CO 25% $420
66 San Diego, CA 25% $550
67 Glendale, CA 25% $599
68 Sacramento, CA 26% $408
69 Washington, DC 26% $506
70 Santa Ana, CA 26% $515
71 Fremont, CA 26% $580
72 Lexington, KY 27% $252
73 San Antonio, TX 27% $274
74 Grand Rapids, MI 27% $305
75 Cleveland, OH 27% $312
76 Mesa, AZ 27% $328
77 Reno, NV 27% $344
78 St. Paul, MN 27% $363
79 Plano, TX 27% $364
80 Austin, TX 27% $380
81 Little Rock, AR 28% $234
82 Brooklyn, NY 28% $802
83 Rochester, NY 29% $317
84 Aurora, CO 29% $413
85 Madison, WI 30% $380
86 Huntington Beach, CA 30% $682
87 Boston, MA 30% $942
88 Arlington, VA 31% $629
89 Jersey City, NJ 31% $781
90 Detroit, MI 32% $365
91 Tucson, AZ 33% $305
92 Oakland, CA 33% $872
93 Minneapolis, MN 34% $496
94 Lubbock, TX 35% $292
95 Philadelphia, PA 35% $603
96 San Francisco, CA 37% $1,033
97 Chicago, IL 38% $646
98 Seattle, WA 38% $706
99 Los Angeles, CA 39% $923
100 Manhattan, NY 43% $1,592

Amounts computed with a proprietary formula using weighted rent and apartment stock data for all apartment types, from Yardi Matrix data.

 

Cities with Highest Upgrading Costs

It’s not news that life in a big city can be pricey — and so can large apartments. Consequently, the highest financial effort to upgrade an apartment (by percentage) was noted the top 3 largest cities in the U.S. The most extreme example (to no one’s surprise) is, of course, New York. If you live in Manhattan, for instance, it will cost you 43% more in rent to get that extra room — which translates into a net $1,592 in extra rent per month. If that gives you a sticker shock, you might just consider staying put and finding some other creative solution to squeeze in a workspace

On the other side of the country, life in the city of celebrities doesn’t come cheap, either. Specifically, in Los Angeles, you can only get that much-needed home office space if you’re able to pay 39% more in rent (or $923). However, strolling on the Santa Monica Pier whenever you feel like it or spotting Leonardo DiCaprio at a game at Dodger Stadium — priceless!

Thinking of upgrading in Chicago? While the Windy City is not quite as pricey as New York or LA, the percentage difference in price to upgrade by one bedroom here is the third-highest in the U.S. — a price jump of 38% or $646 extra per month. Seattle ties Chicago in third place — also a 38% price difference or $706 more per month. 

Move to Suburbs to Potentially Pay Less in Rent & Still Get Your Extra Room

Many jobs that have gone remote were concentrated in large cities. Fortunately, as a remote worker, you now have the flexibility to live wherever you want. For example, if you rent in a large city, you might be able to upgrade the size of your apartment for the same amount or less than you’re paying now — as long as you’re willing to move to another area in your metro. To find out, we calculated the average difference in rent to upsize by moving from the core of the city to the surrounding suburbs in 29 of the largest metros. 

Click on your metro area to see which locations offer the best deals, as well as which might cost more to upgrade your rental by one extra room.

See How Much an Extra Room Costs Anywhere

Want to find out how much you’d save or need to shell out to rent a larger apartment in your city of choice? Just use the calculator below — select your current city and the city you want to move to in order to determine the extra monthly cost of upsizing.

 

Methodology

RENTCafé is a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the United States.

This report contains data collected from a survey of 20,149 respondents between May 21 and May 31, 2021, on rentcafe.com. Survey respondents are presumed to be predominantly apartment-seekers.

 

The cost to upgrade was computed with a proprietary formula using weighted rent and apartment stock data for all apartment types. Values represent the weighted average of rent differences between apartment types (studio to 1-bedroom, 1-bedroom to 2-bedroom, and 2-bedroom to 3-bedroom apartments) and their respective share out of the total apartment stock in each location. The amounts presented are for informational purposes only. Actual costs to upgrade depend on the exact location, building quality, and apartment size.

To ensure statistical relevance, only cities that met the following criteria were included in the analysis: 

  • Minimum 4 properties and 1,000 apartment units per city
  • Minimum 4 properties and 100 apartment units in each type per city
  • City must have data available for at least 1- and 2- bedroom apartment types

A total of 569 cities met the above criteria and were included in the analysis.

Apartment rent data is from large multifamily buildings of 50 or more units, provided by our sister company, Yardi Matrix, a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self-storage sectors.

 

Fair Use and Redistribution

We encourage and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to RENTCafe.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.

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