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Homeownership costs 26% more since the pandemic


(NewsNation) — Skyrocketing insurance rates, higher utility bills and soaring maintenance expenses have pushed the cost of owning a home up 26% over the past four years.

Owning and maintaining a typical U.S. single-family home now costs $18,118 a year, according to a new analysis from Bankrate. In 2020, comparable expenses were $14,428 annually.

Today’s homeownership costs work out to an additional $1,510 per month on top of a mortgage payment.

“These numbers show that the costs of owning a home are at the same level as buying a used car every year,” Bankrate analyst Jeff Ostrowski said in a statement.

The analysis factored in property taxes, homeowners insurance, energy bills, internet and cable bills as well as maintenance costs, which it estimated at 2% a year.

Those hidden costs of homeownership have surged for several reasons. Inflation has pushed up prices for nearly everything in recent years, meaning higher material and labor costs for home maintenance.

As for insurance, Bankrate said rising home values, increasing construction costs and natural disasters have all contributed to soaring premiums. Meanwhile, massive investments in the country’s aging energy infrastructure have increased utility bills.

The rising cost of owning a home marks yet another consideration for aspiring homebuyers, who are already facing record-high prices, elevated mortgage rates and a low supply of available homes.

A recent report from Realtor.com found renting is now cheaper than buying a home in all of America’s largest metropolitan areas. That reality has Americans feeling historically pessimistic about the housing market, with 76% of people now saying it’s a bad time to buy, according to Gallup.

However, attitudes about homeownership may vary depending on where you live.

Residents in Hawaii ($29,105), California ($28,790), Massachusetts ($26,313), New Jersey ($25,573) and Connecticut ($23,515) pay the most to own and maintain a home each year, Bankrate found.

Maintenance made up the largest share of ownership costs, but several states near the top of the list also pay some of the highest property taxes.

While not the most expensive in dollar terms, Utah (+44%) and Idaho (+39%) have seen the largest jump in costs since 2020.

Kentucky is the least expensive place to own a home, with an average annual cost of $11,559, followed by Arkansas ($11,692), Mississippi ($11,881), Alabama ($12,258) and Indiana ($12,259).

Alaska (+14%), Texas (+14%) and Louisiana (+15%) had the smallest percentage increases from 2020 to 2024 in homeownership costs.