Most people think of apartment sharing as something you do in your 20s, but, according to our latest research, 1 in 5 roommates is now 40+ (I’m one of them!). So it seems Generation X is joining generation rent, how times have changed.
Generation X is now SpareRoom’s fastest growing group of roommates, up by 23% in the past two years, and it’s no surprise to see key cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles seeing some of the biggest rises in this age group.
I believe there are a couple of main reasons. The first is the rise of the lifetime renter - people who’ve been priced out of ever buying somewhere. The second is people coming out of long-term relationships and realizing they can’t afford to live on their own.
While these reasons can seem negative at first, I believe there are some real benefits to sharing, especially when you’ve separated from a long-term partner. In fact, our research shows that over half of current Generation X roommates are actually choosing to share, even though they could afford to rent on their own.
When I separated from my wife a few years ago I lived on my own for a while. If I’d had a bad day there was nobody to lift my spirits – if it had been a great day there was no-one to share it with. So I advertised on SpareRoom for a couple of roommates. If I’m honest it started out as the ultimate market research into my own business, but it ended up being a life changing experience and I’ve shared ever since. I really believe that living with the right people beats living on your own.
While some, particularly those over 40, might initially feel they’re forced into sharing for financial reasons, this study echoes my own experience that there are so many positives to sharing, above and beyond financial. That’s why I used SpareRoom again to advertise for two roommates when I moved to New York.
I moved here in October to focus on SpareRoom’s US expansion and have been on the hunt for roommates to share my Manhattan Loft. I’m not doing this for financial reasons, purely because I prefer to share, so I’m only charging $1 per month in rent.
I’m currently making the hard (almost impossible!) decision of which two roommates to pick out of the 9,000 who applied.