Myth Busting: Studio Apartments Typically Cost More than One-Bedroom Rentals

Many of us assume that, when it comes to paying the rent, we’ll pay less for a smaller apartment. But our research team has found it to be more nuanced – in some areas, it’s easier for renters to get more space for less money.

Our latest research debunks an even more common assumption about apartment hunting: the idea that a studio apartment is the best option for renters on a budget.

We found that in the United States and 45 of the country’s largest metro areas, renters typically spend more on a studio apartment than they do on a one-bedroom rental. The median rent for a studio in the U.S. is about $1,385 per month, while the median rent for a one-bedroom rental is $1,260 per month – a $125 difference.

In Los Angeles and San Francisco, the difference between the typical studio rent and the typical one-bedroom rent is even more substantial. Renters in these cities can expect to spend an additional $1,400 or more each month on a studio apartment compared to a one-bedroom.

How does this happen? After all, studios are usually smaller – the typical studio apartment is around 500 square feet, while the typical one-bedroom rental is closer to 730 square feet.

It all boils down to location: In the metro areas we analyzed, studios were typically about one-third of a mile closer to job centers than their one-bedroom counterparts. Meanwhile, one-bedrooms rentals are more common overall and are typically spread more broadly throughout a given area, into places where rents can be more affordable.

So while those looking to live in the urban core might still save on rent by foregoing a bedroom in their apartment, renters overall can expect to save by sizing up a little.

To see how studio and one-bedroom rents compare across metro areas, check out the graph below: