10 Places Where Independence Is More Than a Dream
Guest Post By Tali Wee
Gaining independence for young adults can be harder than ever in the current housing market. Throughout the twenty-first century, the number of millennials living with family nearly doubled (a 46 percent increase). Many millennials are settling down with mom and dad after college not as a rite of passage, but because it is the most manageable financial decision. It’s understandable, given the steep cost of rent in many metros across the country.
Monthly rents cost more than mortgages, yet home prices are wildly unaffordable and rising, preventing most 23- to 34-year-olds from moving out alone. In fact, only 9 percent of millennials currently live alone nationwide – a steadily declining number since 2005. Although living at home in your adult life may be on trend and in favor of padding your wallet, it might not be the best move for your family relationships or sense of independence.
So there you are, back at home with mom and dad wondering “what if.” If that’s your case and you’re looking for that break to step away on your own, consider moving to an area where other millennials are making it work.
Here are the top 10 places where millennials are successfully living independently.
1. Richmond, VA
3. Buffalo, NY
4. Columbus, OH
5. Virginia Beach, VA
7. New Orleans
8. Austin, Texas
9. Kansas City, MO
Think twice about going solo in Riverside (6.1 percent), San Jose (6.5 percent), Miami (8.1 percent) or Los Angeles (8.1 percent); slim percentages of these populations include millennials living alone. Few millennials can afford the steep cost of rent in many big cites even though they make higher incomes than in most small towns. For example, in Los Angeles, 49 percent of your monthly income is spent on rent while the median income of a millennial is $50,000 before taxes – leaving less than a couple grand each month for food, transportation, clothes and life.
If your move is more about getting some separation from your parents, you may consider finding a roommate to share the burden of bills.
Interview: Don’t jump into a roommate relationship without doing your due diligence. If you cannot meet in-person, set up time to video chat and get to know their personality and lifestyle. Ask about their habits: do they wake up early, stay up late, party or require quiet? Do they wash dishes immediately after use or let the sink fill before loading the dishwasher? It’s important to find a match for your basic lifestyles. If you’re both a little sloppy, it’s perfect. If you both love to sleep with the television on, the sound is no concern. If not, there is potential for arguments.
Confirm: One important thing to agree on is the way bills will be divided and paid each month. Be sure to agree on shared amenities such as cable and internet. And be sure the future roomie has the funds to pay their share. Ask about employment. It can also help to discuss credit scores to ensure your roommate’s profile won’t hurt your chances of finding an apartment. Lastly, check references. If you didn’t meet this potential roommate through your network, find folks within their circles to confirm character: a friend, colleague, past roommate or prior landlord.
If you’re ready to be bold and take the risk of going it alone, start off on the right foot by relocating to a destination within your means or find a likeminded person to make it a reality.