Energy costs can significantly impact a home's affordability. But according to Redfin's Taylor Marr, energy costs in some areas of the country are drastically different from others.
According to energy cost estimates from Tendril, energy costs can add more than 50% to annual housing costs in the Rust Belt. People in Cleveland, Rochester, Cincinnati and Buffalo pay more for energy than homeowners in any of the other 71 metro areas that were analyzed in the study. Cleveland residents spend an additional 54 percent of their annual housing payments on energy.
Residents of California get a break on their energy costs; Seven of the 10 metros where homeowners spend the least on energy, relative to their annual mortgage, are in California. In San Francisco and San Jose, energy bills add just 2 to 3 percent to annual housing costs.
It’s not just that housing is more expensive in California, but that annual energy costs are also lower. Conversely, in metros where people pay less for housing, they spend more on annual energy. Why is the cost of energy so high in these areas? Part of it is that the homes are often older and tend to have less insulation than newer homes. They also tend to rely on more expensive forms of heating, such as an electric furnace as opposed to a gas furnace in the Midwest, or more expensive still, oil boilers in New England. One of the most effective ways consumers can reduce their energy cost in these areas is to upgrade their heating equipment. The Midwest and the Northeast regions also have much colder and longer winters than the South or the West Coast, resulting in higher overall energy consumption.