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 rentcafe.com 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
|Rank||City, State||Extra % to Upsize||Extra $ to Upsize|
|17||Oklahoma City, OK||18%||$144|
|18||Kansas City, MO||18%||$193|
|22||Des Moines, IA||19%||$174|
|23||Las Vegas, NV||19%||$211|
|29||Colorado Springs, CO||20%||$256|
|31||El Paso, TX||21%||$171|
|34||Baton Rouge, LA||21%||$210|
|41||St. Louis, MO||22%||$216|
|42||Corpus Christi, TX||22%||$219|
|43||Fort Worth, TX||22%||$258|
|45||St. Petersburg, FL||22%||$313|
|52||Long Beach, CA||23%||$476|
|53||Fort Wayne, IN||24%||$193|
|59||San Jose, CA||24%||$582|
|66||San Diego, CA||25%||$550|
|70||Santa Ana, CA||26%||$515|
|73||San Antonio, TX||27%||$274|
|74||Grand Rapids, MI||27%||$305|
|78||St. Paul, MN||27%||$363|
|81||Little Rock, AR||28%||$234|
|86||Huntington Beach, CA||30%||$682|
|89||Jersey City, NJ||31%||$781|
|96||San Francisco, CA||37%||$1,033|
|99||Los Angeles, CA||39%||$923|
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.
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.