The next time you turn on a light switch or flush the toilet, be aware that you could be adding to your housing expenses. According to a new white paper
published by ATTOM Data Solutions, utility costs—including electricity, natural gas, water and sewer—add 25 percent to monthly housing costs for homeowners and 21 percent to housing costs for renters on average nationwide.
ATTOM Data Solutions determined that monthly utility costs require seven percent of average wages on average across 931 counties analyzed for its white paper. When utility costs are included, the cost of buying a median-priced home requires more than the 43 percent of income recommended by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) in 323 of the 931 counties, or 35 percent of the markets analyzed.
But energy efficient green technology solutions can offer a way to cut those costs. The white paper included an analysis of the impact of solar installation on home seller profits in California between 2010 and 2017, with the conclusion that California home sellers with a solar system installed between their original purchase and their sale of the home realized average profits that were more than double the average profits realized by home sellers without a photovoltaic array on their property.
“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.”