You’ve got your down payment and you’ve been approved for a mortgage. What a relief. But now the real spending begins. If you want to know the actual price of owning a home, throw in closing costs, moving expenses, homeowner’s insurance, private mortgage insurance (P.M.I.) if required, property taxes, home maintenance and utilities.
A new study by Self, a company that helps clients build credit, tabulated these costs both nationally and in every state to find the true cost of owning a home around the country.
To arrive at its results, the study assumed 13.2 years of homeownership — about how often U.S. homes typically change hands — and a 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage at 2022’s average rate, 5.26 percent. (Rates have since topped 7 percent.) It used the Zillow Home Value Index to find the average value of the most common home size — a three-bedroom at $355,892 — and assumed a down payment of 13 percent, the national median at the time the research was done. With a down payment of that size, lenders typically require P.M.I. until 20 percent equity is reached, so that was included too.
So, that average-value three-bedroom home ended up requiring an outlay of about $623,290 over 13.2 years of ownership. Mortgage payments alone accounted for $270,593 of that, with maintenance and repairs adding up to $192,139. Utility payments came out to $54,662, surpassing the initial down payment of $46,266.
Of course, these costs aren’t written in stone. First, there are regional variations: Hawaiians were found to spend the most ($1,482,229) over 13.2 years, while West Virginians were found to spend the least ($321,194).
Other factors that reduce costs include a larger down payment, efficient appliances, alternative energy strategies and do-it-yourself repairs. And when mortgage rates finally recede, refinancing at lower rates will make a huge difference.