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Redfin reveals huge disparity in U.S. energy costs

By Mike Wheatley | October 20, 2016

Energy bills can add more than 40 percent to annual housing costs in several Rust Belt metros including Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Rochester and Buffalo, NY, according to Redfin, the next-generation real estate brokerage. In several California markets, energy adds just 5 percent or less to annual housing costs.


For its latest report, Redfin analysts used energy cost estimate data provided by Tendril, the leading provider of Energy Services Management (ESM) solutions, to compare energy costs as a percentage of annual mortgage costs in different metro areas.

Seven of the 10 metros where homeowners spend the least on energy, relative to their annual mortgages, are in California. While housing is generally more expensive there than in the rest of the country, energy costs are also lower, making energy expenses a relatively small concern for Californians. In fact, in San Francisco, San Jose and Orange County energy bills add just 2 or 3 percent to annual housing costs.

In contrast, nine of the 10 cities with the highest added energy costs are in the Rust Belt or Northeast, in part because of relatively lower home prices in the regions and in part because of increased energy costs from the region’s long winters and a preponderance of older, less energy-efficient homes.

“The aging housing stock reduces the benefits of shrinking energy costs to homeowners,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “Energy costs, specifically oil and natural gas (not electricity), have been declining since their peak in 2008 and are at some of their lowest rates in more than a decade. This helps, but it doesn’t remove the high costs of energy to homeowners and renters in older units. For buyers, it’s important to know the full annual cost of upkeep, including the energy outlays that come with homeownership.”

According to Redfin’s study, the following cities have the highest energy costs in the nation:


Meanwhile, these cities have the lowest energy costs nationwide:2

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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