One might think these events are only filled with young graduates and professionals in their 20s. However, Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom's director, told CNBC recently that the company is often hosting attendees in their 40s, 50s and even 60s. It's a reflection of how city dwellers of all ages are struggling to find affordable housing in a torrid market.
"The older roommates may have been coming out of a relationship and were hoping to keep their apartments, but they can't afford it," Hutchinson said, adding that frothy rents are driving older renters to find a roommate for the first time in their lives.
At a recent SpareRoomate event at Revival, a bar in the Gramercy area of Manhattan, the mood was set for both house seekers and renters to make a rent connection. On the bar's second floor, brick walls, candles and alcoholic beverages helped complete a scene that was a lot like speed dating.
Beer in hand, 30-year-old Yana Nesterenko told CNBC that even though she rents her own apartment for $1,900 in Brooklyn, she's willing to pay up to $1,800 for a room just to save a few hundred dollars."I want to have more money in my budget to travel in the winter," she said.
Enter apartment sharing, which for many renters is a way of dodging the exorbitant cost of living in the Big Apple. According to SpareRoom data, the average price for a room in a shared NYC apartment was $1,253 in May. None of the attendees who spoke with CNBC at the event complained about rent prices.
"The prices have been going up, but it seems like everyone is OK with it," Nesterenko said.