Roses are red, violets are blue, if you’re single and rent, more money is due

  • In more-expensive cities, the “singles tax” can be as high as $19,500.
  • Cohabitating renters in the U.S. save a collective $14,000 a year by living together.
  • Zillow’s search filters and tools can help renters living alone or with roommates stay organized and save money during their apartment search.

This Valentine’s Day, Zillow has uncovered a heartbreaking truth for apartment-hunting singles: Renters living in a one-bedroom on their own face a yearly “singles tax”1 of nearly $7,000, according to an analysis by Zillow.

Single Renters Pay a 'Singles Tax'

While singles across the country pay a high price for a solo living arrangement, the size of that “tax” varies widely depending on where they live. The price of living alone in a one-bedroom apartment is the highest in New York City, where StreetEasy data finds that singles pay $19,500 more a year than someone living with a partner in the same place. This rises to nearly $24,000 in Manhattan, the priciest borough. San Francisco isn’t too far behind with a $14,000 “singles tax” for a one-bedroom apartment.

Of the 50 largest U.S. cities (by population), Detroit and Cleveland have the lowest “singles tax” at $4,483 and $4,387 respectively. It is, of course, worth mentioning that singles can avoid this “tax” by taking in roommates — an extremely popular choice for saving on rent.

“Living alone has its perks — you never have to share a bathroom, you have a claim to the TV at all times, and dirty dishes can stack up as long as you want, judgment free. But all that freedom comes with a cost,” says Amanda Pendleton, Zillow home trends expert. “Even though rent prices are starting to cool, they are still significantly higher than they were a year ago. Renters considering going solo this year must decide how valuable living alone is to them, and if the cost is worth it.”

Zillow’s analysis also found that cohabitating renters in the U.S. save a collective $14,000 annually, compared to renters living alone. Couples in more expensive cities can save even more, with the discount reaching up to $39,000 in New York City. That’s a sizable amount of money that can be used toward paying off student loans, a wedding or even a down payment on a home.

In the end, moving in together or deciding to live roommate-free are extremely personal decisions. This data highlights the importance of finding a rental that’s the right fit for each individual and household. Zillow has a variety of resources available (and more are coming soon) to help renting couples, roommates and independent renters make the best financial decisions and find the perfect apartment to call home:

  • Rent affordability calculator: For renters living alone or with a roommate or partner, setting a realistic budget is an important place to start. Solo renters can use this Zillow tool to determine if the “singles tax” is something they’re able to afford.
  • Move-in date filterAligning lease start and end dates is a hassle for one person, let alone a couple potentially living in two different apartments with two different leases. Zillow’s move-in date filter ensures all renters are seeing apartments that are available when they need them to avoid paying double rent.
  • Renter Hub: Organization is key for renters during their search. Within Renter Hub, renters can see the status and next step for every apartment they’ve saved, shared or contacted. They can also update their renter profile to share basic information with property managers, and keep up with conversations with potential landlords — all within the Zillow app.
  • Automated tour schedulingThis is ideal for both busy couples and single renters seeking apartment tours. With this new integration for participating properties, renters can instantly book an apartment tour online without needing to wait for a response — making a cumbersome process as simple as booking a restaurant reservation.
  • Room for Rent (coming soon to Zillow): With the “singles tax” being so high, many renters don’t have the option of living in a one-bedroom apartment alone. This new feature, which is coming soon to Zillow, will allow renters to search and rent single bedrooms within rental units, opening up more affordable options for those looking for their place.

About Zillow Group

Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z and ZG) is reimagining real estate to make it easier to unlock life’s next chapter. As the most visited real estate website in the United States, Zillow® and its affiliates offer customers an on-demand experience for selling, buying, renting, or financing with transparency and ease.

Zillow Group’s affiliates and subsidiaries include Zillow®; Zillow Premier Agent®; Zillow Home Loans™; Zillow Closing Services™; Trulia®; Out East®; StreetEasy®; HotPads®; and ShowingTime+℠ , which houses ShowingTime®, Bridge Interactive®, and dotloop® and interactive floor plans. Zillow Home Loans, LLC is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #10287 (

1 To find the “singles tax,” Zillow calculated the annual amount that one person would pay in rent and divided that number in half, which is the additional amount singles pay when they do not split that rent with a partner or roommate.

Zillow logo (PRNewsfoto/Zillow Group)


For further information: Emily McDonald, Zillow,