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Average cost for a spare room in San Francisco: $1,815/month

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That’s more than the rent on an entire apartment in almost every city in the U.S.

A high-elevation photo of buildings in Chinatown, with the Bay Bridge visible on the the horizon. Timothy Harding

Even though thousands of San Franciscans make ends meet not by renting an entire apartment but instead just a single room in a divvied up household, it’s difficult to find research on the cost of one-room renting.

The real estate site Trulia did throw the curious a bone on that subject this week, though, with a study titled “Boom-Mates” looking at how much Baby Boomers stand to make renting out extra rooms in major cities.

No points for guessing that San Francisco offers the biggest dividends on empty space:

Boston, Cambridge, Mass., New York, Oakland, Calif., and San Francisco would be the top five most profitable metros if you wanted to rent out a room, with San Francisco coming out on top with an annual income of around $22,000.

Renting out a spare bedroom in San Francisco can bring in more than $1,800 a month in supplemental income.

The actual total comes to $1,815 in all. Trulia bases this on a median whole-apartment rent price of $3,000/month in the city. In Oakland it’s $1,064/month for one room versus $2,000 for the whole space.

For perspective on just how alarming of a figure $1,815/month is if accurate, note that it’s more money than the rental site Zumper estimated it costs to rent an entire apartment in all but nine U.S. cities this month.

And it’s more than the price of a two-bedroom apartment in all but 14 cities.

Trulia’s figures do come with some important caveats: For one thing, the methodology extrapolates price based on three-bedroom homes, as “single bedroom costs tend to normalize at 3 bedrooms or more.”

Patrick Civello

And with the Baby-Boomer theme of Millennials renting from Baby Boomers in mind, the site “filtered for household heads over the age of 53, [...] owner occupied residences, and non-multigenerational households.” So the figures provided are from a highly singular data set.

Over on Craigslist, the median rent for single bedrooms in ads posted in the last 24 hours is $1,175/month. Of ads posted in the last seven days, the median is $1,200.

Maybe more important than the figure itself is the huge gap between the SF number and the rest of the country: None of the other cities in the study even came close. The next highest is Miami at $1,087/month. Then Boston at $1,068/month.

After Oakland, no other city even breaks the $1,000 threshold. Indeed, of the 25 cities, SF was at least twice as expensive as 18 of them, and nearly three times as expensive or more as 12 of them.