Roommates aren't just for college days anymore, the number of married couples who are sharing their homes has increased significantly since the 1990s. Trulia decided to investigate this phenomenon by comparing data between 1995 and 2016 and came up with some telling numbers.
In 2018, 3.28 percent of all U.S. households, or nearly 4.2 million, lived with a roommate. But among married couples, that rate was just 0.46 percent (just over 280,000 married households) which is double the rate observed in 1995. Among all married householders, 0.46 percent live with roommates, up from a historical average of 0.36 percent. This increase is mostly from married homeowners, 0.34 percent of whom live with roommates, or nearly 40 percent higher than the historical average.
The increase is higher in the nation’s most expensive markets, proving high housing costs are forcing some married couples to offset the financial burden. It comes as no surprise that the share of married householders who have roommates is correlated with challenging housing market conditions. In fact, the number of married homeowners with roommates peaked in 2012 at roughly the same time as the national foreclosure crisis.
There are two distinct trends among married couples who own compared those who rent. Renters are subject to fluctuating costs during their tenancy or when they move. Homeowners tend to stay in one home longer because their cost is usually stable having been determined when they bought their home. As a result, married homeowners are less likely to bring on roommates when faced with escalating housing costs than married renters.
It’s probably no coincidence that the areas with the most married-with-roommate households are more pricey like the West Coast, known for its high home prices. In Honolulu, the rate almost doubled, accompanied a booming housing market with rising prices. On average every $100,000 increase in the median metro home value corresponds to a 0.25 percentage point increase in the share of married couples with roommates. There is clearly a direct link between affordability and the presence of a roommate in married couples’ homes, soon it could be the new norm.
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