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Anyone who’s owned a home before knows their expense extends beyond insurance and a mortgage. How much, really, does homeownership cost?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey (AHS), recently released with data from 2015, the real cost of homeownership factors in not only financing a home, but also maintaining and living in it. Spotlight stats from the survey include:

  • Eighteen percent (the majority) of households that built or purchased a home in 2015 did so with a down payment of 11-20 percent. Less (15.2 percent) put down 21 percent or more. Even less (12.9 percent) put down 6-10 percent.
  • Ninety-five percent had only one mortgage; 5 percent had two mortgages. Of the nearly 40 percent who refinanced their one mortgage, 71.2 percent refinanced for a lower interest rate.
  • Households (owned) paid a median $133 per month for fuel oil, $117 per month for electricity, $53 per month for piped gas, and $46 per month for water.
  • Households (owned) paid a median $500 on routine maintenance (e.g., painting, fixing leaks).
  • Households (owned) paid a median $1,200 on home improvement projects (e.g., aging-in-place accessibility, energy-efficient upgrades). Just over 3 percent completed at least one project to prepare their home for sale.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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