Are One-Bedroom Apartments Actually Cheaper Than Studios?

apartment living
credit: Twenty20

Want more space? You gotta pay for it, or so the adage goes.

But in many U.S. cities, that's simply not true. A recent study by the research team at HotPads (a Zillow company) found that in the case of some rental markets, studio apartments tend to actually be pricier than their one-bedroom counterparts.

Hotpads compared the median rents in 45 metro areas across the U.S. While the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,260 per month, the median rent for a studio was $1,385.

The difference was most pronounced in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where studio apartments were sometimes as much as $1,400 more than comparable one-bedrooms. (Pittsburgh had the smallest difference between the two, with one-bedroom rentals clocking in just $20 cheaper than studios.)

Less expensive and larger — what's not to like? But before you pack your bags to move on up, you should know what causes this pricing disparity according to HotPads. Studios, which the company found to average approximately 500 square feet, tend to be located closer to job and city centers than one-bedroom apartments, which are spread throughout a wider geographic area with more available inventory. The demand for housing closer to city centers also drives up prices and drives down space, the classic supply-demand formula.

So, walk to work or a king-size bed? Only you can decide.


Laura Ratliff

Laura Ratliff

Laura is a New York City-based freelance writer who writes about travel, food, and design. Her work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, GQ, Condé Nast Traveler, and more. She's a sucker for a good curbside furniture find.