The Cities with the Highest Hidden Costs of Owning a Home

published Aug 14, 2017
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(Image credit: Amy Covington/Stocksy)

If you’re looking into buying a home, your mind is probably focused on things like your down payment and monthly mortgage costs, but those aren’t the only costs that come with owning a home—there are hidden costs you might not be thinking about, too.

Those hidden costs are things like property taxes, home insurance, maintenance and repair costs, pest control costs, and the cost of utilities—all of which are also important to consider, and can change drastically depending on where you live.

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The number one city where hidden homeownership costs are high? According to a study from—perhaps unsurprisingly—it’s New York. Of the top 10, NYC takes the top spot due to its higher property tax rates (2 percent) and average utility cost ($234) although, in terms of average home insurance, the city falls on the lower side of the scale at $78. In second place is Bridgeport, Connecticut—where again, home insurance costs are on the lower side ($75) utility costs but utility costs are actually the highest on the list at $309 (and the property tax rate is 1.7 percent). And in third place is Boston with a tax rate of 1.5 percent, home insurance at $99 on average, and average utilities coming in at $236.

The cities with the highest average home insurance? Miami and Cape Coral, Florida (at $298—nearly 3 times the national average), along with New Orleans ($248), due to the high risk of flooding and hurricanes.

The Buffalo, NY metro area actually took the top spot for property tax rates at 2.9 percent, but thanks to its otherwise low cost of living, it didn’t even place in the top 10. And with a 2 percent tax rate, homeowners in the New York metropolitan area (including Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey) pay an average of $7,300 in property taxes—but the national average is only $2,100, so that’s a huge difference in cost.

Other cities in the top 10 include Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, and New Haven, Connecticut. And speaking of New Haven, like Bridgeport, it also came in with a super high average utility cost—the study noted that Connecticut homeowners pay the most for heating oil (around $104 per month).

You can check out the full results of the study on