Monday, October 18

US Condo Fees Surge 19% as Energy, Wage Bills Pile Up

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Monthly condo fees have surged in the US to help cover higher bills for electricity, repairs and wages for front desk staff.

The monthly median fee set by condominium homeowners associations jumped 19% from a year earlier to about $451 in August, according to data compiled by Zillow Group Inc. That amounts to an extra $900 per year to residents’ budgets.

Fees are rising in part because inflation and labor shortages have increased the prices of everything from energy to landscaping. Maintenance and repairs are also more frequent because more people are working from home and their children.

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In addition, the deadly collapse of a condominium building north of Miami in June has resulted in newfound attention to safety standards.

An estimated 74 million people live in communities managed by homeowners associations, which determine what services to provide and at what cost for the communal parts. Condominiums account for about 35% to 40% of the total, according to the Community Associations Institute.

Amenities and the age of the building play a large role in median rates, which vary widely across metropolitan areas. In New York City, which has an abundance of older housing stock that wastes more energy than newer buildings, the median monthly fee is much higher than the rest of the country. It rose 22% from a year earlier in August to $948.

In San Francisco, where many residents packed up and left during the pandemic, fees have fallen from a year earlier. The median monthly cost was down 6.3% to $454 in August.

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