Increasing mortgage rates and home values aren’t the only reasons it’s getting more expensive to buy and own a home. Homeowners’ association fees, often paid by residents of gated communities and condominiums, are on the rise as well.
The average monthly homeowners’ association fee in 2015 was $331, up 32 percent over the past decade, according to a new report from Trulia. That means that the average homeowner who owed HOA fees is paying nearly $4,000 a year, an expense that’s going up faster than home prices or inflation.
HOA fees cover the cost of maintenance of common spaces like exterior property, laundry and gyms, as well as shared services like lawn care and trash removal. Part of the reason for the large increase is that the country’s housing stock is aging, and it costs more to maintain older buildings. The Trulia study found higher HOA fees in older buildings, larger homes and communities with fewer housing units.
The prevalence of HOA fees varies by region. In some parts of Florida, nearly one in three homeowners pays such fees, but they’re nearly unheard of in some Texas communities.
New York City residents paid the highest HOA fees ($571 per month), followed by those in Long Island ($498) and San Francisco ($463). As a percentage of housing expenses, however, residents of Tampa got hit the hardest, with HOA fees making up nearly half of their monthly costs.
Residents of Nashville and Las Vegas have the lowest HOA fees in the country, averaging less than $200 a month.