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Real Estate

Owning a home has hidden costs. Here's where they cost the least – and the most.

Home ownership means being prepared for expected – and unexpected costs.

And in some parts of the country, those hidden costs of homeownership can cost more than in other areas.

The average annual cost of owning and maintaining a single-family home is $18,118 a year, up 26% since 2020, according to a new study by Bankrate.

The Hidden Costs of Homeownership study analyzed the average costs beyond a mortgage, including property taxes, homeowners insurance, home maintenance costs and electricity and internet and cable bills, then compared those costs to a similar study conducted four years ago.

A new study by Bankrate reveals that the hidden costs of home ownership has increased in the last four years.

Nationally, those costs add up to an additional $1,510 per month on top of a mortgage payment. In 2020, those same expenses cost $14,428 a year for a typical single-family home or $1,202 per month, Bankrate said.

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“First-time homebuyers tend to think of closing on a house as reaching a sort of financial finish line," Bankrate Analyst Jeff Ostrowski told 91Ӱ. "But these numbers show that in important ways, a homeowner’s work is just starting. Homeowners bear hefty costs, and first-time buyers especially should be prepared to spend a lot beyond the monthly principal and interest payment.”

Hidden homeownership costs vary by state

Costs to maintain a home vary by state and region.

The five states with the highest average hidden homeownership costs are:

  1. Hawaii: $29,015
  2. California $28,790
  3. Massachusetts $26,313
  4. New Jersey $25,573
  5. Connecticut $23,515

The five states with the lowest average hidden homeownership costs are:

  1. Kentucky $11,559
  2. Arkansas $11,692
  3. Mississippi $11,881
  4. Alabama $12,258
  5. Indiana $12,259

The three states with the steepest percentage hikes in the last four years are Utah (44%), Idaho (39%) and Hawaii (38%). The three states with the smallest percentage increases during that same time frame are Alaska (14%), Texas (14%) and Louisiana (15%).

Home maintenance can be an expensive but needed expenditure and is part of a financial mix that homeowners may not always anticipate, Bankrate said.

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Researchers used figures assuming single-family homeowners spend 2% of their home’s value on maintenance annually. Hawaii and California have the highest cost of home maintenance in the country at $19,860 and $16,966, respectively. Iowa and Oklahoma have the lowest maintenance costs, totaling $4,596 and $4,844, respectively.

“No matter where you live, make sure you include some cushion in your monthly budget to absorb the shock of unplanned expenses,” Ostrowski said in a press release. “After you achieve homeownership, you need to fatten up your emergency savings account for all those surprise repairs.

Betty Lin-Fisher is a consumer reporter for 91Ӱ. Reach her at blinfisher@USATODAY.com or follow her on X, Facebook or Instagram @blinfisher. Sign up for our free The Daily Money newsletter, which will include consumer news on Fridays,

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