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Where you live can affect how much money you spend each month. And we’re not just talking about property prices - various bills from electricity to auto insurance can also be affected by your location. This post explains just how location makes a difference and why you should consider this when moving home or relocating.
Location has a big impact on the price of property. There are many different location factors including how pretty the area is, how accessible the property is (by road and public transport), how good the local schools are, how low the local crime rate is and how close local amenities are (such as shops and hospitals). Property in cities tends to be more expensive to rent and buy simply because of the demand. Of course, where you live in a city can also have an impact - it’s often much cheaper to live on the outskirts than in the center. This is a big thing to consider when choosing a property on a tight budget.
Homeowners throughout the US must pay property tax. Property tax rates are based on the value of your property, but can also vary depending on the state you live in. For example, in New Jersey, the property tax rate is 2.21% of a home’s value, whereas it’s only 0.55% in Wyoming. If you’re moving to another state and thinking of buying property, it could be important to factor in property tax.
While maintenance costs of a home come down largely to how the property is built and how old it is, location can play a part. Homes in locations that get more extreme weather typically require more repairs and preventative maintenance. For example, roofing is more likely to be damaged in areas with high winds and heavy rainfall - unless you’re willing to invest more money into more resilient roofing, you could end up paying for more frequent repairs.
Various forms of insurance can vary depending on where you live. For example, if you live in New York City you can expect to pay higher auto insurance rates than anywhere else in the country due to the high rate of accidents, as well as high home insurance rates due to the crime rate. Of course, certain zip codes in New York may be cheaper than others. Things like availability of off-road parking can also have an impact. This is something you shouldn’t overlook.
Energy prices are soaring all over the country. However, most people don’t realise that location can affect electricity bills and that certain states are much cheaper than others. In fact, you can end up spending three times less per kWh in some states than in others - in Hawaii, the average rate is 30.28 cents per kWh, while in Washington it’s only $9.87 cents per kWh on average. State regulations and power plant availability can play a big factor in this. This is something most people don’t (but should) consider when moving to another state.
Water bills also vary across the country. Homes in hotter and drier climates typically consume more water as there’s more demand for it. In some locations, water bills may also be higher due to the relative scarcity - if there are no local water sources, water may have to be pumped much further to reach your home, resulting in higher bills.
Grocery shopping can cost more in certain locations in the US than others. Large cities tend to have much higher grocery bills than rural towns. In fact, you could end up spending 4 times more for a carton of eggs in New York than you would in rural Oklahoma. The cost per item largely comes down to how difficult each item is to transport. Milk, for example, is very expensive in Hawaii - there are not enough cows producing milk on the islands and so most of it has to be shipped over, pushing the price up.
You could also end up spending a lot more on transport when living in certain places. Fuel varies in cost across the US - gas prices in some states like California are extremely high. That said, even in California, certain cities can be cheaper to get around than others. Many people in San Francisco do not own a car because the public transport system is very good and cheap, plus the city is very walkable. This is not the case with somewhere like Los Angeles where most people need a car to get around. Obviously, distance to work can have a big impact too if you commute - a longer journey will cost you more and is something to always weigh up.
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