Cost of Homeownership Reaches $1,000 Monthly

Written by: Steve Cook   Thu, August 19, 2010 Beyond Today's News, Consumer Reports, Consumer Trends

Homeowners paid a median of $1,000 in monthly housing costs in 2009, compared to $808 for renters, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

However, renters usually paid a higher percentage of their household income on these costs than did owners (31 percent compared to 20 percent).lThe 2009 American Housing Survey also found that 32 percent of owner-occupied units were owned free and clear, 66 percent had a regular and/or home equity mortgage and 2 percent had only a line-of-credit.

The most important considerations for people moving to a new home were financial (28 percent), followed by room layout/design (15 percent) and size of home (10 percent).   In choosing a neighborhood, movers look for convenience to job (20 percent), convenience to friends or relatives (14 percent), look/design of neighborhood (10 percent) and the house itself (10 percent).

Issued jointly every two years by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, this survey provides detailed information on the characteristics of the nation’s housing stock.

 A wide range of specific topics is covered, such as the presence of air conditioning, crowding, housing costs, special living services offered to older residents, safety equipment present, type of heating fuel used, satisfaction with the neighborhood, cost of utilities and size of the home. The survey also covers the demographic characteristics of the housing units’ occupants.

 ”So many of these measures are really unique to this survey,” noted Tamara Cole, chief of the Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey Branch. “Together they provide a comprehensive view of the quality of the nation’s housing stock. This survey is also a longitudinal one, meaning it follows the same unit over time. For example, you can track the remodeling done to a specific unit from one survey to the next.”

The 2009 survey indicates that respondents are generally quite content with where they live: about 70 percent rate their homes an 8, 9, or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 28 percent giving them the “best” rating of 10.

Residents of new construction tend to rate their homes even more highly: 84 percent gave them between an 8 and 10, and 45 percent gave a perfect 10 rating. Likewise, more than two-thirds of residents (68 percent) rated their neighborhood highly with 25 percent giving it a “best” rating. People living in newly built homes rate their neighborhoods especially highly: 75 percent (rated highly) and 35 percent (rated best), respectively.

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