In a move aimed at easing the financial strain faced by renters across the U.S., real estate giant Zillow has introduced a new room listing option to its platform. This comes as rental costs have skyrocketed, with nearly 50% of renters now classified as ‘cost-burdened’, meaning they spend over 30% of income on housing.
Addressing the Roommate Dilemma
The feature allows users to search specifically for individual rooms for rent, alongside traditional “entire place” listings. This caters to a significant demographic, notably Gen Z and Millennials, who often rely on shared living arrangements to manage expenses and make up over half of the US rental market.
Zillow’s own research has revealed that many younger renters feel uncertain about where to find roommates, with some finding it even harder than finding a romantic partner. According to the Harris survey, a majority (59%) of younger renters reported feeling “uncertain” about where they would go to find a roommate if they needed one, while 60% of respondents said that finding a good roommate is harder than finding a romantic partner.
“We know finding the right place to call home isn’t one-size-fits-all,” said Michael Sherman, vice president of Zillow Rentals. “By introducing room listings, we’re crafting a robust marketplace of options that truly reflects the varied needs of renters. We’re committed to providing a platform where searching for a room, a house, an apartment or anything in between is as easy as clicking a button.”
Beyond Renters: Benefits for Homeowners and Landlords
The room listing feature also holds opportunities for homeowners and landlords. Homeowners with spare rooms can potentially gain financial relief and reduce mortgage expenses by renting them out. Landlords can benefit from added flexibility in filling vacancies and increasing revenue potential.
How Zillow’s Room Listings Work
- Renters: The “Room” filter is located under “Home Type” on Zillow’s website and app. Listings include details on the available room, shared spaces, policies, and information about any current roommates.
- Listers: Renters (with landlord permission) and property owners can easily create room listings through Zillow Rental Manager.
What Does Zillow Offer That Make It Compete with Current Offerings?
- Brand Recognition: Zillow’s existing real estate platform brings in a huge user base and trust factor.
- Integration: The convenience of finding rooms and apartments in one place may appeal to users already utilizing Zillow for their housing search.
- Financial Tools: Zillow’s features, like applications and rent collection, might prove enticing for both renters and landlords.