John Shriber co-founded housemate-finding platform Roomster with a friend from the friend’s studio apartment nearly 20 years ago, when he was himself in need of a room. Searches on his site dropped during the pandemic, he said, when many people sought to live alone, or put off plans to move out from their parents’ home.
Roommate queries this year have risen about 40% year over year in cities like Nashville, Austin and Atlanta, and supply doesn’t meet demand, he said. As of late April, 338 rooms were available in Austin on Roomster, and 1,756 people were looking at them. The average asking price for a room in Austin is up 33% this year, reaching $948. The average searcher’s budget there is $917, according to Roomster.
“I don’t think living has ever been cheap, but things are very different now,” Mr. Shriber said.
In the past, Mr. Shriber said, his platform relied more heavily on a series of filters to help users match up with perfect roommates, with options for everything from bedtimes to astrological signs. Those mostly have fallen by the wayside, he said, with price rising above all other factors.