MORE TH>N, part of RSA Insurance Group, decided to find out.
The first thing they found was that very little quality analysis existed on the total expenses associated of running a home that included mortgage and rent payments. So they enlisted personal finance journalist, Rosanna Spero to help write a Cost of Running a Home report, published on 9 May 2016. The idea was to better understand the pressures their customers faced by accurately quantifying and comparing the overall cost of running a home for renters and homeowners.
Getting the bigger picture
The research was carried out between January and March of 2016 and looked at the costs homeowners and renters living in 72 towns and cities in 12 regions across the UK faced.
In total, 720 properties spread over five different house sizes–one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom detached houses–were surveyed.
As well as monthly mortgage and rent payments, the Cost of Running a Home study also took into account: utility bills; water rates; council tax; TV, phone and broadband; contents and buildings insurance; garden maintenance; household furnishings; and general home maintenance.
A nation of stark contrasts
The study’s main finding was that the cost of running a same-sized homes varies significantly depending on which part of the country you live in.
Unsurprisingly, the most expensive area to run a home was Greater London. 72% of rented and owned properties cost £1,827.90 a month to run, making Londoners by far the most stretched. Particularly hard-hit were homeowners in Westminster, where a one-bedroom flat costs on average £4,080.89 a month to run.
Compare that with Omagh in Northern Ireland which emerged as one of the most affordable places to live in in the UK. There, a one-bedroom flat costs just £313.27 a month on average to run and a four-bedroom detached house, £1,380.30.
The report also highlighted that while people tend to think of rent or mortgage payments as the single biggest home-related expense, running costs in fact often amount to the same amount again.
In three towns, Carlisle, Blackpool and Neath Port Talbot, household bills actually cost more than rent. And in other areas, including Richmond, Scarborough, Burnley, Lowestoft and Sunderland, the cost of bills amounted to over 90% of payment.