fb-pixel Skip to main content

Boston is the hub of housing costs

Basic property-related expenses add thousands of dollars

Boston’s Seaport District David L Ryan/Globe Staff

The only thing worse than renting in Boston might be owning in Boston.

Never mind the high cost of real estate. Once you’ve taken care of the mortgage, the other expenses aren’t cheap, either. The metro area is one of the most expensive in the United States to own a home, according to a report from the real estate data company Zillow. The median for homeowners’ basic expenses was $9,400 a year — and depending on how much the homeowner spends on maintenance, that cost could be more than $13,000.

Unavoidable costs like property taxes, utilities, and homeowner insurance alone amount to $9,413 a year. More than half the total was for property taxes, while utility costs — including electricity, gas, television, phone, and Internet service — add up to more than $3,400 a year.


The median household faced insurance costs of $1,104 per year, according to Svenja Gudell, senior director of economic research at Zillow.

Still, many homeowners managed for less. The median is the midpoint, meaning that half of homeowners spent less than that figure.

Some important expense categories, like the cost of a mortgage, weren’t included, and Zillow was able to get complete data for only 15 metro areas. Nationally, the company said, the median homeowner’s unavoidable annual costs total $6,042.

Renting isn’t cheap, either. Zillow said in 2014 that the average monthly rent in Boston had risen to $1,200, making it the seventh-most-expensive rental market in the country. Many renters also pay for their utilities.

Median annual unavoidable costs of home ownership
Includes property taxes, utilities, and insurance
Metro area Costs
Boston $9,413
Chicago $9,096
San Francisco $8,634
Philadelphia $8,161
Seattle $7,211
Portland, Ore. $7,206
Los Angeles $7,025
San Diego $6,833
Orlando $6,745
Minneapolis $6,446
Charlotte, N.C. $5,649
Denver $5,364
Las Vegas $5,128
Atlanta $4,721
Phoenix $4,513
SOURCE: Zillow

Jack Newsham can be reached
at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.