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Study: Los Angeles has the highest rent premium for in-unit washers and dryers

In some cities, having an in-unit washer or dryer is a luxury for renters. Now, there are statistics that show what city slickers are really paying for the convenience of doing laundry at home.

Trulia, the online real estate service, released data on June 16 that revealed where renters pay the most for an in-unit washer and dryer. Los Angeles topped the list with people paying an average rent premium of $325. Boston was second place ($255), while San Francisco came close behind in third ($245).

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In the 13 cities examined by Trulia, the average rent premium was 10 percent. Philadelphia had the highest premium at 20 percent, totaling $211 in extra cash on top of the rent (which averages $1200 per month in the birthplace of the Constitution).

“Sprawled out metros such as Philadelphia and Los Angeles likely have a greater washer/ dryer premium, because the distance from most apartments to the nearest Laundromats will be farther away,” wrote Mark Uh, data scientist for Trulia. “Metros where the cost of goods and living is more expensive (and presumably laundry services are more expensive) such as New York, San Francisco, and Boston also have high premiums.”

However, Philadelphia was near the top of the list of cities in terms of the percentage of multifamily rentals with a washer and dryer (48 percent). On this metric, it came in third place behind Chicago (56 percent) and Washington (58 percent), which nabbed first place.

So what happens when you don’t have an in-unit washer or dryer? Trulia found that if you choose to patronize a laundry service, the cost can quickly add up. Wash-and-folds typically cost $1 per pound of laundry. If you do 10 pounds of laundry per week, this could add $40 to your monthly expenses.

The bottom line is that keeping your clothes clean can be downright expensive, especially if you live in a bustling hub. Maybe newer energy-saving washers and dryers will eventually curb the cost of this burdensome chore.