Rising gas and electricity bills ‘drive up cost of running a home’
Northern Ireland and Wales see biggest increase, but Londoners still pay the most to own and run a home
The annual cost of owning and running a home in the UK has risen for the third consecutive year – and rising utility bills are behind this increase in the cost of living.
A report from Halifax revealed that the typical annual cost associated with owning and running a home in the UK has increased by 1.9% – rising from £9,411 to £9,590 in 2012.
This marked the third consecutive year-on-year rise when it comes to owning and running a home, after a decline was recorded between 2008 and 2010 due to a reduction in mortgage rates over this period.
In total, the average annual cost of owning and running a home is now 2% (£184) higher than it was five years ago. This increase is significantly lower than the 18% increase in overall consumer prices since 2008.
It is believed that increasing fuel and water bills are significantly contributing to the rising cost of homeownership.
Indeed, gas and electricity bills have risen by an average of 4.2% (£70) in the past year alone. Furthermore, water bills have soared by 5.6% (£27) during 2012.
What’s more, over five years, the amount of money homeowners shell out on gas, electricity and other fuels has rocketed. Research revealed that these bills have soared by some 57% since 2008.
While fuel bills took up just 12% of household income in January 2008, by the same time in January 2013, they were eating up 18% of consumer income.
An issue across the UK
This increase in home-running costs occurred across all UK regions in the last year, it was also found. Those living in the East Midlands (2%) and London (2%) saw the smallest rises, while Northern Ireland (4.8%) and Wales (4.1%) saw the biggest rises.
Despite this, total annual costs of owning and running a home were found to be the highest in London at £12,094. This impressive figure stands at 26% (£2,504), above the UK average, and 52% (£4,124) higher than in Northern Ireland (£7,970).
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, explained: “The typical costs of owning and running a home have again increased slightly over the past year, although this rise was below the general increase in the cost of living.
“Overall, the cost of owning a home has increased by 2% over the past five years, representing a significant decline in real terms. Lower mortgage payments have largely offset increases in other items of housing-related expenditure, such as the substantial rises in electricity and gas bills.”