The number of married couples living with roommates has more than doubled since 1995. According to new estimate based on survey data, nearly 280,000 married homeowners had renters living with them last year. In the costly West Coast housing markets, the trend is growing even more.
According to a new study, married homeowners are increasingly taking on renters in order to afford rising housing costs. The share of married, homeowning couples with roommates was up almost 40% from the historical average last year, with more than 280,000 instances across the country.
Most people probably assume that getting hitched means their days of living with non-relatives are over, and in general this is true – a relatively small number of married households has a non-related roommate. But the phenomenon has become far more common over the past two decades, especially in the nation’s most expensive markets.
In total, 4.2 million U.S. households had roommates or renters as of last year. This amounts to 3.28% of all households in the country.
Helping With Housing Costs
Data shows that married couples tend to take on renters and roommates when housing costs get out of had. The trend peaked in 2012 during the housing crisis and bottomed out once the bubble burst.
But now, the trend is back on its upward tick — especially in higher-cost markets in the West.
At the metro-level, the rate of married couples who take on roommates is highly correlated with affordability and is most evident in expensive markets.
Cities with high shares of homeowners with renters are San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles and Oakland, California; Seattle, Washington; Salt Lake City, Utah, Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas; and Washington, D.C.
While correlation is not causation, it’s notable that as housing costs have risen in many of these expensive markets, the share of married-with-roommate households has too. With the exception of Orange County, markets with the highest rates of married couples living with roommates have also seen the biggest increases in the rate of such couples.
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