New York Couples Can Save Nearly $40,000 a Year If They Live Together

  • New York City couples can save up to $40,000 a year by renting a one-bedroom apartment together.
  • NYC rent is getting more expensive as the market rebounds from pandemic discounts last year.
  • Long term, couples could save enough in a few years to buy their own homes.

Single New Yorkers may have found a new reason to look for love: real estate.

The typical New York City couple would save $28,800 a year if they cohabitated in a one-bedroom apartment, a new study by StreetEasy found. The savings increase by borough, with the most savings potential existing for couples in Manhattan, where rent is the most expensive. Couples living together in that borough typically save as much as $19,500 each, or $39,000 in total. A couple can save as much as $23,400 a year in Queens; $26,400 in Brooklyn; $20,400 in the Bronx; and $18,000 in Staten Island.

“Moving in with a significant other is one way to save on rent without sacrificing amenities, location, or square footage,” the study says. “It is also a great way to go if you don’t want to deal with the headaches of wrangling several roommates to live in a larger apartment.”

These numbers are based on the median, citywide, one-bedroom rental price at the end of 2021, which was $2,400. New York has one of the highest median rental prices for a one bedroom in the US, and is the highest by some metrics. This study comes as rents get more expensive everywhere in the country, and as Manhattan rebounds from low prices pandemic that led people to snap up inexpensive leases — ones that are expiring or about to expire, opening up a New York market that is getting prohibitively pricey again.

And that’s in addition to how expensive it is to be single in today’s economy, between making less money than people in couples and a tax code that favors married couples.

Pandemic rent deals are ending, and couples may far better

In January last year, both rents and sales in NYC fell, opening a rare window in the city’s notoriously expensive housing market. Many renters upgraded to luxury leases and others bought homes well below asking price.

In the second quarter of 2021, however, the median sale price of condos and co-ops rose to its highest level in two years — to $1.65 million and $820,000, respectively, according to a report from brokerage Douglas Elliman and real-estate appraiser Miller Samuel.

In addition to saving on rent, the StreetEasy report also says that couples renting together will have an expanded set of location options, even if their individual budgets are the same.

“If you’re looking for a wide range of neighborhoods to choose from or want to live closer to midtown, a combined rental budget of $1,600 each will get you there,” the report says. “You’ll also get more square footage for your money the further you live away from central areas.”

In the long term, StreetEasy says, couples who cohabitate can also move toward homeownership faster than their single peers, given how much they would save over a few years: A couple that banks $28,800 in yearly savings, for instance, could accrue a 20% down payment on the median asking price for a NYC home — $950,000 — in 6.6 years.

The report highlights the financial gap between single people and individuals in relationships, the latter of whom have more security overall. Single women, who has less cushion from the gender wage gap that a dual income might provide, face the biggest financial gap.

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