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Zillow Launches Individual Rooms Across US Cities As Rents Remain High

This feature is available across the country but is popular in bigger cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Boston. 
Cover Image  Source: Zillow launches new feature (representative image) | Getty Images | Smith Collection
Cover Image Source: Zillow launches new feature (representative image) | Getty Images | Smith Collection

While inflation is down from its peak, most Americans are still looking at price hikes and steep rents across the country. With home prices and rents still very high, Americans seek ways to lower their monthly expenses. On Thursday's rental marketplace, Zillow announced that they now offer options to search for individual room listings, per USA Today. A beta testing mode for the feature was first launched in certain markets in November 2023. Currently, there are 10,000 single-room listings on the platform. 

"(The room feature is) a way for us to expand the affordable selection to our renters, in addition to providing more optionality for landlords and homeowners, potentially, to help offset mortgage costs," said Lily Ferguson, the senior product manager at Zillow who was behind the room for rent launch.


Many even understand that finding roommates is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a bit of time. David Smith, a 33-year-old based in New York City, said that he has risked paying double his $1,000 monthly share of the rent after failing to get roommates on time. "It's a stressful process, especially when months are remaining in the lease. That’s something that I couldn't afford to cover on my own,” he said. “So you need somebody, but you don't want it to be just anybody," he told USA Today.

In 2019, about one-third (32.2%) of U.S. adults lived in "shared households" which had at least one adult resident. The figure also includes adult children living with parents and adult roommates, not counting those aged 18 to 24. However, since then rents have become even more expensive. A report from Zillow says that the income required to comfortably spend 30% of income on rent for the median renter is now up by 40.6% since pre-pandemic. 

 Michele Eve Sandberg | Getty Images
Michele Eve Sandberg | Getty Images

"Affordability continues to be a challenge," Ferguson said. It was also seen that adding roommates can help make mortgage payments more affordable. To look for roommates, you have to use the feature "Room" under the “Home Type” drop-down chart. You can look for a room in a single-family rental, or condominium depending on your budget, lifestyle as well and location. This feature is available across the country but is popular in bigger cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Boston. "You're going to see a larger cluster of rooms in those major metropolitan areas where affordability continues to be a challenge," Ferguson said.

In May 2022, median monthly rent in the US surpassed $2,000 for the first time. This is a 15% year-over-year increase, as per Redfin. Two of the major reasons affecting the rent are inflation as well as supply and demand. A shifting workplace is contributing to higher rents. 


"We are frustrated, we thought that home prices would be a much bigger contributor to the downward movement of inflation,” Eugenio Aleman, chief economist at Raymond James told Fortune. As mentioned, experts say that nobody should be spending more than 30% on rent and if they do, they are less likely to spend on healthy food and medical care. As per reports, more than 21 million U.S. households spend more than 30% of this income on rent.

According to Nerd Wallet, more income is now required for rent. The median person must make close to $79,264 to afford rent. As per the publication, the highest rent increase in the country was seen in Cincinnati (+7.1%), Providence (+7.1%), Milwaukee (8.7% ), Jacksonville (-0.8%), and more.