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What's your spare room worth?

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January often starts with a hangover. But we're not talking about the lying down in a dark room kind - we're talking about financial hangovers, the ones where you realize your finances are even more stretched than you thought and you're resolved to change that this year.

If there's an empty bedroom in your house or apartment, one of the simplest ways to earn extra cash is to take in a lodger or roommate. If you own the property this can be fairly straightforward and, in fact, plenty of Americans do this already. Even if you rent your home you may be able to take advantage - for example, if you live in New York state there's something called the 'Right to have a roommate'.

The key question, of course, is 'how much could I earn?' Here's our guide to the average rent roommates pay in the top 30 US metro areas, to give you a sense of what your room might be worth. Actual amounts will vary depending on where you are, but this will give you a good starting point.

Metro area Average Rent $
Atlanta 797
Austin 815
Baltimore 751
Boston 1,073
Charlotte 759
Chicago 795
Dallas 748
Denver 885
Detroit 634
Houston 746
Jacksonville 688
Las Vegas 722
Los Angeles 1,165
Miami 987
Minneapolis 728
New York 1,189
Orlando 746
Philadelphia 796
Phoenix 778
Portland 760
Raleigh 737
Riverside 869
Sacramento 829
San Antonio 666
San Diego 1,072
San Francisco Bay Area 1,238
Seattle 897
Tampa 789
Virginia Beach 686
Washington D.C. 1,064

If you want to see what rents look like in your neighborhood, just search the ads on SpareRoom to see what's currently out there.


Imange credit - Blake Wheeler