Written By: Katie Bassett

Gated communities with sparkling swimming pools and band new gym equipment. Walking trails, playscapes, and community events. Amenities like these are desired by many and found in condominiums, townhomes or planned developments across the country. While services vary based on where you live, one thing will be forever present if you are looking for a community home – a homeowner association (HOA) fee. A monthly or annual payment in return for the upkeep of a property, the HOA fee might cover some of the finer things in life like an exotic landscaping, a clean pool or a new gym.

Conflicting opinions run rampant regarding HOA fees, but trends over the past decade indicate a steady incline, which is alarming to everyone across the nation. Will prices plateau or continue to escalate, making it more difficult to purchase a home? Finally, where are the lowest HOA fees in the country?

Over the past ten years, homeowners have experienced rising HOA fees nationwide, which draws major concern to a new homeowner. In 2005, the average monthly HOA fee among all households in the country stood at $250.00 per month. Ten years later, the average fee has increased to $331.000, which is a 32.4 percent increase. 

The fee has not only exceeded the pace of nation’s housing prices (15.1 percent), but also the inflation rate by 5.9 percent. The rise of HOA fees various among metros, and outrageous fees are no surprise in cities like New York and San Francisco. The top five metros with the most expensive average monthly HOA fees include:

New York City, $571

Long Island, $498

San Francisco $463

Philadelphia $449

Miami, $415

The percentage change over the past decade can further suggest the trend of rising HOA fees. Those living in Virginia Beach have seen the steepest incline of HOA fees over the past ten years, with prices increases by 74.5 percent. Other metro areas who have suffered included Providence, RI (50.5 percent), Miami, FL (52.8 percent) and Portland, OR (48.8 percent). 

Where do major metros in Texas fall? Rest easy fellow Texans, major metro areas including Dallas and Austin have actually seen the least amount of fluctuation over the past ten years and monthly averages are much more affordable, compared to New York and San Francisco. 

Comparing to the national average of a 32.4 percent increase, those living in Dallas have only seen a 16.5 percent increase since 2005, and as of now, Dallas homeowners are paying $349.00 per month. Those living in Dallas suburbs like Plano or Frisco see similar HOA fees to the Dallas metro area. Furthermore, only a small percentage of residents in the Dallas metro must worry about HOA fees. It was found that only 2.7 percent of homeowners pay a condo fee in the metro.  Austin residents see similar, if not cheaper HOA fees than those in Dallas. Right now, Austin residents pay on average $262.00 per month, a 14.6 percent increase over the past ten years.

Several factors influence HOA fees, the age of the home being the most dominant. Older homes require more maintenance, which in turn increases HOA fines. For example, homes constructed in 2005 or later were up to $90.00 cheaper than households built in the sixties. The number of units within a planned community will also factor into monthly HOA fines as well as number of rooms per household. In general, each bedroom adds an addition $30.00 to a monthly HOA fee. 

It’s time to celebrate for those living in Texas! Now is the time to invest in a home and reap lower HOA fees!