Los Angeles is one of the most expensive rental cities in America; about 60 percent of renters are paying too much of their income for leases. One obvious solution: Get a roommate (or two).
A new analysis from real estate listings site Trulia found that renters willing to split a three-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles County save an average $683 per month versus going it alone with a one-bedroom unit. For a two-bedroom sharing arrangement, the average savings is $580 in the L.A. market, the site found. The site used its own listings data to calculate median apartment rents in L.A. for one-, two- and three-bed units in 2016.
"In L.A., if renters switch from renting a one-bedroom to renting a two-bedroom with a roommate, they save 35 percent, or nearly 12 percent of their income," Andrea McDonald, a Trulia spokeswoman, said via email.
Of course, the savings come with a cost. Coordinating a lease with one or two other people, who might have varying degrees of credit worthiness, can be complicated.
The analysis also found that millennials spend a greater share of their income on rent in L.A. County (nearly 40 percent of their cash goes to secure one-bedroom units) than in any other metro area except one: Miami (where more than 50 percent of income goes to one-bedroom leases).
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Spending more than 30 percent of income on rent is considered "cost-burdened" by the federal government; McDonald calls it the "threshold of affordability." In L.A. the percentage of income spent on apartments by millennials drops below 30 percent when they share a two-bedroom unit, according to Trulia.
Orange County data was analyzed separately. The savings were greater down south: Splitting a three-bedroom unit three ways could save renters $820 each month, the analysis found. A two-way split could net $656 per month.