When prospective homebuyers are exploring the Canadian real estate market and searching for a residential property, many typically only concentrate on the sale price, monthly mortgage payments and interest rates. But this doesn’t tell the whole story. To get a more-accurate picture, and create a realistic budget, homebuyers should find out what are the monthly expenses of carrying a home.
In recent weeks, many reports have surfaced suggesting that some buyers regret their decision to buy at the height of the market, which peaked during the pandemic. While the primary concern is that housing prices have started to come down and borrowing costs have begun climbing, potentially eating away at equity, families are also worried about the growing costs of home ownership.
This is the challenge when FOMO (fear of missing out) sinks in, and homebuyers refrain from doing their due diligence.
So, what are these rising costs anyway? Here is a list of expenses you will have with carrying a home.
What Are the Monthly Expenses of Carrying a Home?
#1 Property Taxes
Every jurisdiction has its own suite of property tax rates. In some places, the property tax rate is too high, and in others, it is below the rate of inflation. Either way, homeowners can expect a massive bill at the end of the year, equivalent to roughly between 0.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent of the market value.
So, if you just bought a $1 million home, you could be slapped with a property tax bill of as much as $25,000.
#2 Home Insurance
Home insurance is critical when you own a home. Since this is the most significant purchasing decision you will ever make in your lifetime, you must obtain a comprehensive package to protect your property and home contents from a broad array of issues: vandalism, theft, flooding, and fire. You’ll also need liability insurance in the event someone is injured on your property.
Whatever the case, home insurance is critical.
#3 Condo Fees (If Applicable)
One of the drawbacks of owning a condominium suite, be it a bachelor or a two-bedroom plus den, is the monthly condo fee. In some buildings, monthly condo fees are equivalent to rent.
This is why it is imperative to determine the condo fee before closing the deal because you need to know how much the costs will be in addition to carrying a mortgage. The month-to-month fixed cost can really be a financial burden. You should also investigate how much the condo board has in reserves for significant outlays like a new roof. If they don’t have enough saved, i.e., there isn’t enough in the reserve fund, you could be charged a “special assessment.” This means you could suddenly face a large expense that must be paid all at once.
If you have rented for many years, you might have avoided paying monthly hydro, heating, gas, and water bills. Although these costs are quickly becoming the norm in renting, new homeowners may have never had to deal with these payments.
So, now that you own a home, you will be paying a wide range of utilities that can add financial pressure to your budget every month.
- Air conditioner
- Cable, phone, and Internet
- Water heater rental
While a condominium does not require maintenance except inside your suite, a detached or semi-detached home does come with plenty of maintenance issues that require capital. This includes landscaping, snow removal, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, home cleaning, and many other features.
In addition, if something in your home needs repairing or replacement, such as the dishwasher or washing machine, be ready to fork over a lot of loonies and toonies.
Let’s say that you come across mould, termites, cockroaches, rats, or a wide range of other pests in your basement, attic, bathroom, or kitchen, be prepared to find a significant hit to your wallet.
Inflation Is the Enemy Now
Ultimately, asset inflation has been on the rise since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The average price of a home in Canada is around $700,000, with some markets, such as Toronto and Vancouver, seeing the average cost top $1 million. But everything else will become integral to your monthly carrying costs, which are now more expensive due to 8.1 per cent inflation (June 2022, Statistics Canada).
The plumbing repair will be more expensive. The landscaping will be far costlier. The water for your swimming pool will be a financial burden for your home. Everything necessary to live in a home has gone up in price, from the nails a roof repairer will need to the food in your refrigerator. It can be quite a challenge for homeowners.
In the end, this is what you could expect to pay for $720,000 home each month:
- Mortgage Payment: $3,444
- Monthly Property Tax: $325
- Utilities: $425
- Home Insurance: $75
- Cable: $75
- Internet: $75
- Phone: $30
- Maintenance: $100
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