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1 in 3 Renters Are Looking to Upsize to an Extra Bedroom: What It Costs & Where to Upgrade for Less

Survey reveals that a third of apartment-hunters look for rentals with an extra bedroom to call „home office,” as 75% don’t have a dedicated space in their apartments for work. Upsizing by one extra room costs about $330, on average, our analysis shows.

While some workers are gradually returning to offices this summer, many will still be able to do their jobs from home permanently — either full-time or in a hybrid system — and this is true for apartment renters, as well. To learn more about their arrangements, we surveyed more than 20,000 renters on in May 2021 about working from their apartments and how they were managing in terms of space. What we found was that one-third (33%) of respondents confirmed that they were and would continue to work from home either full- or part-time for the foreseeable future. 

Granted, space has been a persistent challenge for apartment-dwellers in the last year and a half. But, for that one-third, the realization that working from home is now a more permanent set-up has just turned a temporary need for extra space into a long-term necessity. 


35% of Apartment Renters Are Trading Up

After months of getting creative with their work-from-home setup, the confirmation that the home office is now a permanent fixture has encouraged 35% of WFH apartment-dwellers to upsize their apartment and set up a proper workspace. As you might expect, the most eager to upsize were renters currently living in studios, with a whopping 60% saying they were ready for a change. Similarly, 40% of respondents living in one-bedroom apartments were also actively looking to upgrade to apartments with two or more bedrooms.


Notably, a considerable share of renters in two-bedroom apartments want a larger space, as well, with 22% desiring to upgrade. That’s because, according to a recent poll, the biggest challenge for remote workers is the inability to unplug and separate the professional from the personal. And, not having a dedicated room for work that you could just leave at the end of the day can certainly make disconnecting considerably more difficult.

Price of Upgrading Comparable to Average Commute Cost

Nationally, upgrading to a larger apartment costs 24% more per month, on average, based on our analysis of rents in all types of apartments. This means that, regardless of the size of the apartment you live in — either a studio, or a one- or two-bedroom — you’re likely to pay an average of $337 for that extra room. Therefore, considering that the average commuting cost can be $417 per month, you can technically use the money saved on transportation to upgrade and add that much-needed dedicated workspace. However, your home city might be different.

Use the calculator below to find out how much money you could pay or save if you rent a larger apartment in your preferred city.

Cities with Lowest Upgrading Costs

To determine where you can upgrade your apartment and get an extra bedroom for the least financial effort, we compared the percentage difference in rent in the 100 largest cities. A few highlights are listed below:

If you live in Modesto, CA or Stockton, CA, you’re in luck. The two cities share the crown as the least expensive locations if you want to upsize your apartment. Here, upgrading will increase your monthly rent by only 11%. This translates to an average of $148 more per month in Modesto and $131 more in Stockton — or the average price of a three-course meal for two people.

Likewise, upgrading your apartment in Memphis, TN costs just 12% more, adding an average of $104 to your rent, to be more exact. What’s more, this is actually lower than the average monthly transportation cost in the city ($185). So, in addition to repurposing the time spent on commuting, you would also be able to redirect your money toward getting more square footage.

Rounding up the top 10 least expensive cities to upgrade in are Baltimore, MD; Charlotte, NC; Atlanta; Indianapolis, IN; Birmingham, AL; Boise, ID; and Nashville, TN. Other places to move into a larger rental without breaking the bank include Paradise, NV; Buffalo, NY; Newark, NJ; Tacoma, WA; Columbus, OH; Durham, NC; Oklahoma City, OK; Kansas City, MO; Milwaukee, WI; Portland, OR; and Yonkers, NY.

The Extra Monthly Cost to Upsize Your Apartment in 100 Largest Cities

RankCity, StateExtra % to UpsizeExtra $ to Upsize
1Stockton, CA11%$131
2Modesto, CA11%$148
3Memphis, TN12%$104
4Baltimore, MD15%$191
5Charlotte, NC15%$193
6Atlanta, GA15%$224
7Indianapolis, IN16%$152
8Birmingham, AL16%$167
9Boise, ID16%$211
10Nashville, TN16%$219
11Paradise, NV17%$166
12Columbus, OH17%$167
13Buffalo, NY17%$168
14Newark, NJ17%$178
15Durham, NC17%$202
16Tacoma, WA17%$244
17Oklahoma City, OK18%$144
18Kansas City, MO18%$193
19Milwaukee, WI18%$210
20Portland, OR18%$265
21Yonkers, NY18%$346
22Des Moines, IA19%$174
23Las Vegas, NV19%$211
24Jacksonville, FL19%$215
25Anaheim, CA19%$364
26Anchorage, AK20%$209
27Raleigh, NC20%$242
28Richmond, VA20%$242
29Colorado Springs, CO20%$256
30Chandler, AZ20%$300
31El Paso, TX21%$171
32Akron, OH21%$176
33Lincoln, NE21%$205
34Baton Rouge, LA21%$210
35Garland, TX21%$228
36Spokane, WA21%$229
37Pittsburgh, PA21%$263
38Riverside, CA21%$346
39Miami, FL21%$370
40Omaha, NE22%$216
41St. Louis, MO22%$216
42Corpus Christi, TX22%$219
43Fort Worth, TX22%$258
44Orlando, FL22%$297
45St. Petersburg, FL22%$313
46Scottsdale, AZ22%$361
47Irvine, CA22%$535
48Amarillo, TX23%$176
49Louisville, KY23%$224
50Cincinnati, OH23%$239
51Glendale, AZ23%$269
52Long Beach, CA23%$476
53Fort Wayne, IN24%$193
54Greensboro, NC24%$230
55Houston, TX24%$255
56Bakersfield, CA24%$269
57Irving, TX24%$282
58Dallas, TX24%$296
59San Jose, CA24%$582
60Tulsa, OK25%$189
61Albuquerque, NM25%$231
62Fresno, CA25%$297
63Phoenix, AZ25%$311
64Tampa, FL25%$341
65Denver, CO25%$420
66San Diego, CA25%$550
67Glendale, CA25%$599
68Sacramento, CA26%$408
69Washington, DC26%$506
70Santa Ana, CA26%$515
71Fremont, CA26%$580
72Lexington, KY27%$252
73San Antonio, TX27%$274
74Grand Rapids, MI27%$305
75Cleveland, OH27%$312
76Mesa, AZ27%$328
77Reno, NV27%$344
78St. Paul, MN27%$363
79Plano, TX27%$364
80Austin, TX27%$380
81Little Rock, AR28%$234
82Brooklyn, NY28%$802
83Rochester, NY29%$317
84Aurora, CO29%$413
85Madison, WI30%$380
86Huntington Beach, CA30%$682
87Boston, MA30%$942
88Arlington, VA31%$629
89Jersey City, NJ31%$781
90Detroit, MI32%$365
91Tucson, AZ33%$305
92Oakland, CA33%$872
93Minneapolis, MN34%$496
94Lubbock, TX35%$292
95Philadelphia, PA35%$603
96San Francisco, CA37%$1,033
97Chicago, IL38%$646
98Seattle, WA38%$706
99Los Angeles, CA39%$923
100Manhattan, NY43%$1,592
Amounts computed with a proprietary formula using weighted rent and apartment stock data for all apartment types, from Yardi Matrix data.


Cities with Highest Upgrading Costs

It’s not news that life in a big city can be pricey — and so can large apartments. Consequently, the highest financial effort to upgrade an apartment (by percentage) was noted in the top 3 largest cities in the U.S. Much to no one’s surprise, the most extreme example is New York City. If you live in Manhattan, for instance, it will cost you 43% more in rent to get that extra room — which translates into a net $1,592 in extra rent per month. If that gives you sticker shock, you might just consider staying put and finding some other creative solution to squeeze in a workspace

On the other side of the country, living in the city of celebrities doesn’t come cheap, either. Specifically, in Los Angeles, you can only get that much-needed home office space if you’re able to pay 39% more in rent (or $923). However, strolling on the Santa Monica Pier whenever you feel like it or spotting Leonardo DiCaprio at a game at Dodger Stadium — priceless!

Thinking of upgrading in Chicago? While the Windy City is not quite as pricey as New York or LA, the percentage difference in price to upgrade by one bedroom here is the third-highest in the U.S. — a price jump of 38% or $646 extra per month. Seattle ties Chicago in third place — also a 38% price difference or $706 more per month. 

Move to the Suburbs to Potentially Pay Less in Rent & Still Get Your Extra Room

Many jobs that have gone remote were concentrated in large cities. Fortunately, as a remote worker, you now have the flexibility to live wherever you want. For example, if you rent in a large city, you might be able to upgrade the size of your apartment for the same amount or less than you’re paying now — as long as you’re willing to move to another area in your metro. To find out, we calculated the average difference in rent to upsize by moving from the core of the city to the surrounding suburbs in 29 of the largest metros. 

Click on your metro area to see which locations offer the best deals, as well as which might cost more to upgrade your rental by one extra room.

See How Much an Extra Room Costs Anywhere

Want to find out how much you’d save or need to shell out to rent a larger apartment in your city of choice? Just use the calculator below — select your current city and the city you want to move to in order to determine the extra monthly cost of upsizing.

For example, if you’re planning to leave Amarillo, TX and move into a bigger rental in Austin, the total cost to upgrade would be $1,105 per month. Moving from Ann Arbor, MI to an apartment with an extra bedroom in Alexandria, VA? Consider adding %590 to your monthly expenses.



RentCafe is a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the United States.

This report contains data collected from a survey of 20,149 respondents between May 21 and May 31, 2021, on Survey respondents are presumed to be predominantly apartment-seekers.

The cost to upgrade was computed with a proprietary formula using weighted rent and apartment stock data for all apartment types. Values represent the weighted average of rent differences between apartment types (studio to 1-bedroom, 1-bedroom to 2-bedroom, and 2-bedroom to 3-bedroom apartments) and their respective share out of the total apartment stock in each location. The amounts presented are for informational purposes only. Actual costs to upgrade depend on the exact location, building quality, and apartment size.

To ensure statistical relevance, only cities that met the following criteria were included in the analysis: 

  • Minimum 4 properties and 1,000 apartment units per city
  • Minimum 4 properties and 100 apartment units in each type per city
  • City must have data available for at least 1- and 2- bedroom apartment types

A total of 569 cities met the above criteria and were included in the analysis.

Apartment rent data is from large multifamily buildings of 50 or more units, provided by our sister company, Yardi Matrix, a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self-storage sectors.

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Fair Use and Redistribution

We encourage and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.
Florentina Sarac
Florentina Sarac
Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 9-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email. Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.

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