Random note on housing cost
Because I happened to figure it up recently, thought it might be worth planting these numbers on the web. Might serve as an example of how cheaply you can live in a decent neighborhood if you stay frugal.
I described the house and its location more fully here.
Just the numbers this time:
Mortgage, 15 years at 9.5% interest, paid off in 2006.
25000 basic cost of house (equity)
25000 interest, property tax, insurance
Repairs, mostly after the mortgage was done:
3500 replace septic tank with sewer connection in 2004
500 fix fence (poorly) in 2004
600 new water heater in 2006
2700 new roof
1500 kill termites in 2008
1100 new foundation under back wing
300 new toilet and misc plumbing in 2009
1800 cut down trees
1000 fix fence properly
13000 total of repairs
After end of mortgage,
property tax = 600 /yr,
insurance = 200 / yr.
Total 4000 for 5 years
For 20 years of living: equity, interest, taxes, insurance, repairs:
Grand total 67000 = about 280 a month.
As it happens, that's exactly what the monthly mortgage payment was... so the expense on a yearly basis has continued to be about the same with and without the mortgage.
Compare with the median national housing payment, about 1100 a month, from this source.
(Interesting bit of web technology on that website: you can leave a comment on each bar of the graph!)
More appropriately, how does $280 a month compare with renting? Well, a little house two blocks away makes a good 'comp'. That house is in the same position on its block and has the same tiny lot as mine. The house may be a bit smaller than mine, but it's also a bit newer and appears to have a more usable floor plan. According to Zillow, it rented for $450 the last time it was available.