The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership: $6,000 a Year

The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership: $6,000 a Year

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By Beth Braverman

Most new homeowners are prepared to pay their mortgages, but they may not be ready for other unavoidable costs that can amount to thousands of dollars every year.

The average homeowner shelled out $6,042 last year in homeowners insurance, property taxes, and utilities, according to a new report from Zillow. The average costs varied by location, with Boston homeowners spending the most ($9,413) and homeowners in Phoenix spending the least ($4,513).

“Home buyers too often fixate on the sticker price or monthly mortgage payment on a house, and don’t budget for the other expenses associated with ownership -- which can add up quickly,” Zillow spokeswoman Amy Bohutinsky said in a statement.

Related: How to Decide if You Should Rent or Buy a Home

The maintenance costs included in the report included things like lawn care and carpet cleaning.

The country’s homeownership rate fell to 63.7 percent in the first quarter, the lowest level since 1989. The rate peaked at 69.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, right before the housing bubble burst.

As rents in many cities continue to skyrocket, however, homeownership may be becoming more appealing. However, in addition to hidden homeownership costs, new buyers should also consider the opportunity costs of potential earnings if buyers had invested their down payment. The New York Times has a handy calculator that incorporates these and other factors to help weigh whether it makes more sense to rent or buy.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers say that home ownership is a “dream come true” and an accomplishment to be proud of, according to a survey released last week by Wells Fargo.

Special Tax Break Zones Defined for All 50 States

Workers guide steel beams into place at a construction site in San Francisco, California September 1, 2011.  REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
© Robert Galbraith / Reuters
By Michael Rainey

The U.S. Treasury has approved the final group of opportunity zones, which offer tax incentives for investments made in low-income areas. The zones were created by the tax law signed in December.

Bill Lucia of Route Fifty has some details: “Treasury says that nearly 35 million people live in the designated zones and that census tracts in the zones have an average poverty rate of about 32 percent based on figures from 2011 to 2015, compared to a rate of 17 percent for the average U.S. census tract.”

Click here to explore the dynamic map of the zones on the U.S. Treasury website. 

Map of the Day: Affordable Care Act Premiums Since 2014

FILE PHOTO: A sign on an insurance store advertises Obamacare in San Ysidro
MIKE BLAKE
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Axios breaks down how monthly premiums on benchmark Affordable Care Act policies have risen state by state since 2014. The average increase: $481.

Obamacare Repeal Would Lead to 17.1 Million More Uninsured in 2019: Study

A small group of demonstrators stand outside of of a hotel before former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, president of the The Heritage Foundation, speaks at a "Defund Obamacare Tour" rally in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.  August 26, 2013.  REUTERS/Nate
© Nathan Chute / Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

A new analysis by the Urban Institute finds that if the Affordable Care Act were eliminated entirely, the number of uninsured would rise by 17.1 million — or 50 percent — in 2019. The study also found that federal spending would be reduced by almost $147 billion next year if the ACA were fully repealed.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speaks about the budget at the White House in Washington
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
By Michael Rainey

Mick Mulvaney has been running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since last November, and by all accounts the South Carolina conservative is none too happy with the agency charged with protecting citizens from fraud in the financial industry. The Hill recently wrote up “five ways Mulvaney is cracking down on his own agency,” and they include dropping cases against payday lenders, dismissing three advisory boards and an effort to rebrand the operation as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection — a move critics say is intended to deemphasize the consumer part of the agency’s mission.

Mulvaney recently scored a small victory on the last point, changing the sign in the agency’s building to the new initials. “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau does not exist,” Mulvaney told Congress in April, and now he’s proven the point, at least when it comes to the sign in his lobby (h/t to Vox and thanks to Alan Zibel of Public Citizen for the photo, via Twitter).