Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Alyssa Erdley
Observer Staff 

Upgrading Your Living Situation to Make Room for a Home Office? California is the 2nd Most Expensive Place to Do So

Can you make the case that adding an extra bedroom will save you money on commuting? Probably not.

 

February 26, 2021

Filterbury

Costs for commuting versus carpooling and hybrid transportation methods

A recent Gallup poll showed that 58 percent of America's workers are now doing so remotely. Lockdowns from the pandemic caused much of this migration from the office to the home, but in California, some might be tempted to maintain a situation that avoids commuting once traffic starts to pick up again.

The idea of bypassing the need for a long and painful commute can be alluring, but do the numbers pan out? To work at home effectively over the long haul might require sizing up to a larger apartment or home, one with an extra room that can be turned into a home office, safely isolated from distracting pets and relatives. Can you justify to your living partner the extra expense?

The answer in California is probably not. On average, adding an additional room to your living situation costs about 9 percent of an individual's monthly income, according to data on renters from the U.S. Census Bureau and rent prices from the Department of Housing and Urban Development . That's an average for the United States as a whole. For California, that number bumps up to 11 percent of your income.

Filterbury

Darker green shows more expensive places to add an extra bedroom to your living quarters

But think of all the money to be saved in gasoline and parking if you don't have to commute. Wouldn't that make the jump up worthwhile? Once again, probably not - at least in California. Data from HUD shows that commuters who drive the entire way to work spend a median of $242 each month on commuting costs. Carpoolers and those who take public transportation spend less, $132 monthly at the median. Most economical of all are those who drive part of the way and use some other transportation mode for the rest. They spend a median of $110 per month. Since adding an extra bedroom in California costs an additional median $531 (using a median monthly income of $4,748), it's difficult to make the case that upgrading to that larger apartment will save money. In fact, it will cost you quite a bit more than your commute.

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Filterbuy's website: https://filterbuy.com/resources/affordable-cities-for-home-office/

 

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