The real cost of running the average-sized UK home has been revealed by leading home insurers MORE TH>N.  Owning a three bedroom home in the UK comes with average annual running costs of almost £20,000 (£1,634 per month), with rented three bedroom homes only slightly less expensive at just shy of £19,000 per year (£1,576 per month). For a household with two working adults each earning the average yearly salary that means between 43% (rented) and 45% (owned) of post-tax earnings are being spent purely on household bills and the rent or mortgage.

For 60% of West Midlands residents the cost of running a home was less for those with a mortgage than those renting and that rose to 100% for those living in one or two bedroom flats.

The MORE TH>N Cost of Running a Home Report (CORAH) also found significant variation in the costs of running the same sized homes in 72 towns across the UK.  Most stretched are households in the highest region of Greater London where 72% of properties cost more than £1,827.90 per month which contrasted sharply with only 3% of properties in Northern Ireland – the lowest region.  In the West Midlands 10% of family homes cost more than the average monthly take home to run.

These figures reveal that families today either need the head of household to be earning significantly more than the average salary or for both parents to be working just to make ends meet. In the West Midlands the research looked at five different sized properties in Birmingham, Hereford, Stoke on Trent, Stratford upon Avon, Telford and Worcester.

The research revealed that there are challenges at both ends of the property spectrum.  Renters living in one or two bedroom flats across the UK paid more for their accommodation and household bills compared to those who had a mortgage – with just a handful of exceptions from the 720 properties analysed.   While for adults earning the national average take home pay of £1,827.90 per month, there is no three or four bedroom houses in any region where the cost of the household bills and rent or mortgage was not almost half of their monthly take home pay.    

Across the West Midlands, No family sized home (three or four bedroom) cost less than half the national monthly wage to live in and run – either by renting or with mortgage. The cheapest option is for a three bed semi in Stoke on Trent costing £1,022.25 for rent and bills each month or £998.73 for those with a mortgage.

Graham Nicholls, Head of Home insurance, MORE TH>N; “Our Cost of Running A Home Report shows just how financially stretched most people are to put a roof over their heads and pay their bills – spending almost half their income before buying other necessities such as food, commuting, petrol or other insurance such as motor.

“It confirms the importance of having insurance in place to protect against unexpected bills. Home insurance cover can offer peace of mind and could help save money and it is worth checking to ensure you have the right cover to meet your personal needs.  We would also encourage everyone to keep up the maintenance on their home and not be tempted to cut corners as insurers will not cover damage from wear and tear.”