Report: Cohabitating Increasingly Popular

Solo living is becoming more difficult for younger generations, especially for millennials who are struggling to afford rising home prices if they are burdened with student loan debt. And with rental prices rising as well, even solo renting is not a realistic option for some.

According to Zillow, a doubled-up household is defined as two or more working-aged adults who live together, but are not married or in a relationship. Shared living, such as cohabitating with roommates or parents, is a way to cut down on costs and living expenses—a route many young professionals are choosing to take. According to a recent Zillow analysis, 30 percent of adults across the country are either living with their parents or a roommate—this number has grown by 8 percentage points since 2000. In the late 1990s, only 23 percent of adults cohabitated.

“As rents have outpaced incomes, living alone is no longer an option for many working-aged adults,” says Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “By sharing a home with roommates—or in some cases, with adult parents—working adults are able to afford to live in more desirable neighborhoods without shouldering the full cost alone. But this phenomenon is not limited to expensive cities. The share of adults living with roommates has been on the rise in historically more affordable rental markets, as well. Unless current dynamics shift and income growth exceeds rent growth for a sustained period of time, this trend is unlikely to change.”

Typically, the areas with the highest number of cohabitating adults directly relates to the most expensive rental markets. For example, Los Angeles, which tops the list of cohabitating adults percentage-wise, has a median rent of $2,270 per month—one of the most expensive rental markets in the nation, according to Zillow. Here are the top 10 metros with the highest percentage ofadults living in doubled-up households:

1.   Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif. (45.5 percent)
2.   Riverside, Calif. (43.7 percent)
3.   Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (41 percent)
4.   New York, N.Y. (40 percent)
5.   San Jose, Calif. (38.6 percent)
6.   San Francisco, Calif. (38.5 percent)
7.   San Diego, Calif. (37.9 percent)
8.   San Antonio, Texas (37.2 percent)
9.   Las Vegas, Nev. (36.4 percent)
10. Orlando, Fla. (35 percent)

Zillow reports that the most likely catalyst for the roommate escalation is the inability for young professionals to find high-wage jobs regardless of their high education levels. While this household trend is predicted to remain a popular option for years to come, Zillow is seeing an increase in cohabitating with family members, rather than friends or other roommates.

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Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at[email protected].

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