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$11,342 a Year: The Hidden Costs of Owning a Home in the DC Area

by Nena Perry-Brown

$11,342 a Year: The Hidden Costs of Owning a Home in the DC Area: Figure 1
Homes on W Street NW in DC.

Rising prices aside, owning a home can be a demanding financial investment beyond the down payment and mortgage, and a recent analysis from Zillow and Thumbtack seeks to break down the hidden costs associated with homeownership.

The report found that homeowners nationwide can expect $9,080 in annual hidden costs associated with owning and maintaining their home. Of those costs, $6,059 are completely unavoidable ($2,110 in annual property taxes, $2,953 annually for utilities and $996 annually for homeowner’s insurance). The remaining costs are for “optional” maintenance costs, from standard lawn maintenance to gutter cleaning and pressure washing.

Because the DC region is a relatively costly housing market compared to many others in the country, the unavoidable annual costs of homeownership are higher, totaling $8,764 ($3,727 in annual property taxes, $3,121 annually for utilities and $1,916 annually for homeowner’s insurance). However, the more avoidable maintenance costs are not as expensive, coming in at $2,579 annually. Below is a table showing how those costs break down in the DC area.

$11,342 a Year: The Hidden Costs of Owning a Home in the DC Area: Figure 2
Data from Zillow and Thumbtack

Some of the aforementioned maintenance costs are only associated with single-family houses rather than condos or co-ops. Overall, however, being aware of these costs may help put the costs of homeownership in perspective — and explain why many would-be first-time homebuyers are sitting out the market right now.

The maintenance costs used in the report are averages gleaned from thousands of quotes from service providers in the metro area, and the six costs that the report focused on were identified as the most popular. Utility costs come from UtilityScore’s zip code-level data. For homeowner’s insurance, the analysis assumes the owner pays 0.5 percent of their home value in annual insurance and calculates the cost using the median home value for the metro area.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/11342_the_hidden_annual_cost_of_owning_a_home_in_the_dc_area/12863

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