Myth Busting: How Much Do You Spend (or Save) on an On-Site Gym?

 

It’s a new year, and that means one thing: it’s time for resolutions. Like many others, this year I’ve vowed to be healthier, meaning fewer lunches out of the office and – you guessed it – more time at the gym. I’ve also vowed to spend less money and save for things that really matter, like trips to see friends and the occasional late-night GrubHub order (it’s all about balance, after all).

With fitness and our savings accounts on the brain, the HotPads team took a look at our plethora of rental data to find out if renters can kill two birds with one stone and save money by renting in a building with an on-site fitness center, rather than purchasing a gym membership.

HotPads’ resident number crunchers compared apartments with in-building fitness centers to similar apartments without fitness centers and found that, on average, a renter in the U.S. pays about $62 a month more to rent an apartment with a gym. We compared that to the average cost of a gym membership nationwide, which is about $58 a month.

So all and all, renters nationally save a grand total of $4 each month by getting a gym membership instead of renting in a place that has a gym in the building.

Yes, you read that right. $4 a month. $48 a year. Not enough for a latte each month let alone enough for multiple delivery food feasts.

But renters, no need to worry – this is actually good for you! Without a significant cost difference between on-site gyms and memberships, renters are free to choose an apartment that works for their lifestyle. Those who want the convenience of a nearby gym without the hassle of sweaty commutes or communal showers (ick) can find solace in an apartment with a fitness center. Those who would rather have an array of workout equipment or bonus features like classes or massages can purchase a swanky gym membership without living in fear of their bank account balance. It’s a win-win for everyone looking to bulk up, slim down or just get moving in the New Year.

Naturally, the numbers change a little depending on where you live. In Chicago and Atlanta, renting in a building with a gym saves $8 a month and $4 a month, respectively. In San Francisco, the discount goes the other way: renters save $32 a month by getting a gym membership.

But as a whole, the cost difference between a gym membership and paying additional rent in a building with a fitness center is negligible. Like all things real estate though, what you spend and what you save varies greatly depending on which part of the city you call home. Check out the tables below for a full breakdown of the costs renters face to live in an apartment with a gym in different San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta neighborhoods.

 

Gym premium in San Francisco by Neighborhood

Neighborhood Median Apartment Renti Gym Premiumii Cost Difference Compared to City’s Average Gym Membershipiii Percentage of Units Advertising a Gym
City of San Francisco $3,650 $114 $32 14.9%
Tenderloin $2,195 $260 $180 18.3%
South of Market (SoMa) $3,600 $228 $146 16.4%
South Beach $4,375 $194 $112 21.5%
North Waterfront $3,500 $167 $85 15.0%
Lower Pacific Heights $3,381 $120 $38 22.0%
Downtown $2,595 $27 -$55 23.6%

 

Gym premium in Chicago by neighborhood

Neighborhood Median Apartment Rent Gym Premium Cost Difference Compared to City’s Average Gym Membership Percentage of Units Advertising a Gym
City of Chicago $1,695 $73 -$8 12.1%
East Hyde Park $1,375 $254 $173 9.2%
Wicker Park $2,200 $238 $157 2.5%
Uptown $1,500 $229 $148 2.7%
Noble Square $1,900 $228 $147 2.5%
South Chicago $980 $179 $98 8.8%
Streeterville $2,365 $70 -$11 10.3%
Rogers Park $1,199 $61 -$20 4.5%
Edgewater Beach $1,250 $61 -$20 11.9%
West Loop Gate $2,565 $45 -$36 1.6%
Near West Side $2,335 $44 -$37 8.9%

 

Gym premium in Atlanta by neighborhood

Neighborhood Median Apartment Rent Gym Premium Cost Difference Compared to City’s Average Gym Membership Percentage of Units Advertising a Gym
City of Atlanta $1,705 $74 -$4 18.8%
East Chastain Park $1,358 $279 $201 12.4%
Midtown $2,174 $173 $92 18.4%
Peachtree Heights West $1,716 $165 $84 9.4%
Poncey-Highland $1,810 $141 $60 31.5%
North Buckhead $1,716 $119 $41 22.0%
Peachtree Hills $1,350 $59 -$19 21.0%
Old Fourth Ward $1,700 $50 -$28 20.6%
Lindridge/Martin Manor $1,390 $20 -$58 7.0%
Garden Hills $1,695 $19 -$59 29.8%

 

[i] Median Apartment Rent represents the median rent for rental listings in buildings with five or more units.

[ii] To calculate the gym premium for a city or neighborhood, HotPads compared apartments with in-building fitness centers to similar apartments without in-building fitness centers, controlling for variables that can impact what an apartment costs to rent (such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, location, etc.).

[iii] HotPads compared a city or neighborhood’s gym premium to the city’s average gym membership cost as reported by the Statistic Brain Research Institute to find the cost difference. A negative cost difference represents the savings of renting in a building with an on-site fitness center compared to the city’s average gym membership cost.