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Repairing a home costs less in Miami than in most U.S. cities

A Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia study found that Miamians pay $397 less for their home repairs compared to the national average.
A Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia study found that Miamians pay $397 less for their home repairs compared to the national average. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Home repairs cost less in Miami than in 14 other major U.S. metro areas, according to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and PolicyMap.

The Miami-area median cost was $1,053 — significantly lower than the national median of $1,450. The next lowest were Houston at $1,125 and Washington, D.C. at $1,139.

The most expensive of the 15 metro areas was San Francisco, where the median cost of repairs was $1,927. Chicago and Philadelphia followed in second and third, with repair costs of $1,707 and $1,686 respectively.

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Eileen Divringi, one of study’s authors, said via email that repairs in the Miami region — which includes Broward and Palm Beach — were cheaper because of the relatively low cost of residential contracting in the region.

The study was based on the biennial American Housing Survey (AHS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Since 2015, the study has tracked occupied 85,000 units nationwide.

Gordian, a firm that specializes in construction cost estimates, then provided the cost estimates for needs reported in the study. The calculations were based on database of construction and repair cost estimates prepared by RSMeans that average the cost of labor, materials and equipment in each market: Riverside, Calif; Phoenix, Ariz.; Boston, Mass.; Dallas, Texas; Chicago, Ill.; Seattle, Wash; San Francisco, Calif; New York, N.Y.; Los Angeles, Calif;; Detroit, Mich; Atlanta, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Penn.’ Houston, Texas and Miami.

Nationally, the study found, 35.8% of units reported at least one repair need in 2017. In the Miami area, 36.2% of all households need repair.

Nationally almost two-fifths of those had estimated total repair costs under $1,000.

Among the findings: low-income renters and homeowners were in greater need of repairs than those with greater wealth. “Among renters, extremely low-income households in single-family units typically had the costliest repair needs,” reported the study.

Households of color were slightly more likely to be in need of repair — 39.6 % of black Americans, and 39.9 % of Latinos — than white households (34.1 %).

The study found that the older the unit, the more likely repairs were needed. Homes built before 1940 were 20% more likely to need at least one repair compared to those built in 2000 or later.

The three most common repair needs were leaks and mold, then structural issues and finally related to electrical.

This article was updated to clarify the boundaries of the Miami region. A previous version of this story mislabeled metro areas as cities, the difference being that a metro area covers a region of either several cities, counties or municipalities.

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Rebecca San Juan writes about the real estate industry, covering news about industrial, commercial, office projects, construction contracts and the intersection of real estate and law for industry professionals. She studied at Mount Holyoke College and is proud to be reporting on her hometown.
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