Utilities can cause cost of owning to spike

by Anna Sobrevinas06 Jun 2017
Utilities add more than 20% to housing costs, according to new data from ATTOM Data Solutions and UtilityScore. Utilities add 25% to the costs of owning a home, according to the data. Renters can expect utilities to add 21% to their costs.

These additional costs are also burdensome to average wage-earners, as monthly costs demand 7% of their wage. In 35% of the country’s housing markets, a median-priced home, including utilities, would cost 43% of the average wage-earner’s income.

Across 931 counties analyzed by the two companies, median utility costs such as electricity and water amount to $238 per month.

A strategy mentioned in ATTOM and UtilityScore’s white paper (“Power Conversion”) to better engage with real estate consumers was to “heat up homeowner profits” – such as to invest with installing solar panels.

In California, home sellers in more than 400,000 homes with solar installation between 2010 and 2017 found profit from the sale of their home more than doubled versus the average profit of those who sold their homes without solar installation.

“Utility costs are a significant, quantifiable factor contributing to the overall costs and risks involved with owning or renting a home,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “On the other hand, reducing utility costs — specifically energy costs through the installation of solar — can amplify the wealth-building potential of homeownership.”