A time-honored solution for renters facing down New York's rampant affordability problem: cut costs by shacking up with roommates, right? Nope. A lone room in NYC averaged $1,204 a month this year, according to end-of-year data from SpareRoom.com, a site that helps New Yorkers find roommates. In Manhattan, the average room was a whopping $1,380 a month.
With rents climbing, even New Yorkers living with roommates are being forced to spend more on rent, explains the site's director, Matt Hutchinson. "You see a lot of young professionals who wouldn't have thought they'd still be living with roommates. They're earning good money at good jobs, so their budgets are higher."
Indeed, despite all the recent buzz about Brooklyn rents overtaking Manhattan's, it's a relative win for the outer boroughs when it comes to the cost of renting a room. All 10 most expensive neighborhoods were in Manhattan—Stuy Town clocks in at number nine with an average room price of $1,535 a month, and the priciest of the bunch is the Garment District, where rooms averaged $1,923 a month. By comparison, Brooklyn's average room price was a not-quite-as-insane $1,014. In Queens, the average goes down to $857. Below, charts of the average room price per borough, and the city's ten most expensive neighborhoods:
When it comes to splitting apartments with roommates, "the places that are the most expensive aren't necessarily the most desirable," Hutchinson says, noting that the differences can have more to do with scarce apartments than any particular "cool" factor—hence, the Garment District claiming the top slot. In Queens, housing stock is geared more towards families and homeowners than roommate-friendly shares, he points out. "Places like Astoria are really popular for roommates, but it will take a while for that to spread across Queens," he notes.
Meanwhile, Williamsburg, Bushwick, two different sections of Bed-Stuy, and Stuyvesant Town were the most popular areas for shared accommodation, according to SpareRoom's ranking of the most popular Zip Codes for "room available" ads.