I know a lot of readers are college students and recent grads, so when Zillow reached out to write an article about where millennials are living I said yes! Living alone, especially when you hit your mid-twenties, is a something most millennials only dream about. As a lot of you leave college and up level your careers, you might be tempted to move to different cities. Jennifer Riner of Zillow shares with us some insightful data about rent in some of my reader's (yup, you read that right, I checked Google Analytics to see where most of ya'll live and asked her to tailor the post specifically to you guys!) areas as well as the best places for millennials to live alone!
Guest Post By Jennifer Riner, Zillow
Living alone in the city on a millennial salary can be considered a luxury these days. Between 2000 and 2013, the percentage of 23- to 34-year-olds living with family jumped a whopping 46 percent. Currently, 21 percent of millennials opt to live at home with parents, while a large portion of the generation splits rent with multiple roommates or cohabitates with a significant other.
Despite the rising costs of renting, almost 9 percent of U.S. millennials live solo. Mid-size cities are significantly more palatable to a millennial budget, including Richmond, where 15 percent of millennials live alone. But is it possible to live alone in a big city on a young person’s salary? Consider how many millennials live alone in Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City – and housing costs to expect if you decide to take the independent rental route.
The city in the South that keeps it weird holds a massive young resident makeup, perhaps due to the high 4.6 percent employment growth. The strong economy is likely a driving force behind the 13.4 percent of millennials in Austin who lack roommates. Austin ranks no. 8 on the top 10 independent millennial cities, where young professionals hold a median salary of $40,000 per year. Despite a high share of young people living alone, only 1.5 percent of the homes are deemed affordable for the local millennial income. For comparison, the median Austin apartment costs $1,870 per month.
Only 9.4 percent of millennials live alone in San Francisco, which is higher than some might expect. But, the median income among San Francisco millennials living independently is an impressive $66,000 per year. Given the strong job market and competitive wages in and around the City by the Bay, the median rent of $4,436 per month can’t keep everyone away. Nevertheless, renting in San Francisco burns a deeper hole in your wallet than any other city in the U.S.
In Los Angeles, just 8.1 percent of millennials rent alone. The ultra-independent young population in L.A. has a median income of $50,000 per year, but the employment growth rate is a dismal 2 percent. What’s more, fewer than 8 percent of homes in the area are affordable based on the local median millennial salary. While not exactly cheap, the median rent in L.A. proper is $2,775 per month – significantly easier to swallow when paralleled with its NorCal counterpart.
New York City
The New York City metro area – northern New Jersey included – offers almost 20 percent of rentals millennials can realistically afford based on a median income of $60,000 per year. Despite this, only 9.7 percent of young professionals in the Big Apple opt to live alone. After all, employment grew just 2.5 percent over the past year, perhaps keeping many young people from one-bedroom apartment hunting. As one of the top costliest housing markets, New York City rentals charge a median $2,350 per month.
While most millennials find it problematic to rent alone in high-priced cities, the decision boils down to personal finances. If you can manage the cost of a one-bedroom without blowing the budget – and the 30 percent rule – out of the water, weigh your locales based on job prospects, family, lifestyle and foreseeable future.
For the rest of the generation that falls in line with the wage norms, shacking up with a roommate or two in cities like New York, San Francisco and L.A. might be in your best financial interest until the big promotion comes along.