Tuesday, 10 April 2012 7:58 AM
Soaring utility bills have pushed up the cost of owning and running a home to its highest level since 2008, according to the Halifax.
The bank says the typical annual cost stood at £9,393 in January 2012 after a 2.7 per cent or £243 rise over the last year. That compares with £9,406 in January 2008.
The Halifax review of the cost of owning and running a home includes mortgage costs, council tax, repair and maintenance, insurance, water, electricity, gas and telephone bills and other household costs.
Some 89 per cent of the increase came from a £218 rise in gas and electricity bills over the year. That was seven times the increase in the second biggest contributor, home and garden tools (+£31). Seven of the other nine house expense categories also showed an increase. In contrast, the average mortgage payment fell by £66 over the year.
Housing costs are up across all UK regions over the last year, with Northern Ireland (+4.6 per cent) and Wales (+3.9 per cent) seeing the biggest increases and London and the East Midlands (+1.9 per cent) the smallest.
Compared with 2008, mortgage payments have fallen by 23 per cent or £1,036 from £4,521 to £3,485.
That has offset increases in all the other categories tracked over the last four years. Utility bills are up 50 per cent since 2008, home and garden tools up 28 per cent and home maintenance up 20 per cent.
Looking over the last 10 years, the cost of owning and running a home has risen 50 per cent or £3,333 – double the increase in consumer prices since January 2002. On this comparison, mortgage payments are up £1,227, gas and electricity £979 and council tax £502.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "The typical costs of owning and running a home has increased over the past year, returning the overall level to that of four years ago.
"This has happened despite the substantial fall in mortgage payments over recent years, as all the other costs associated with home ownership have risen.
"The prospect of declining consumer price inflation through much of 2012 may help the costs associated with running a home to ease as well, providing some welcome relief to homeowners."