The U.S. housing market was scorching hot throughout 2021, as 5.7 million single-family homes and condos sold – the largest total since at least 2005, according to housing data from ATTOM Data Solutions. About one-third of those who bought homes in 2021 were first-time homeowners. 

While owning a new home is exciting, it also comes with a whole host of responsibilities, including a never-ending stream of home improvement projects. These projects are not only time consuming and physically taxing, but they can also be expensive. While home renovations are never cheap, they can be much more expensive in some parts of the country. In a handful of major cities, home improvement costs over $7,000 per year on average.

To determine the 25 most expensive states for home improvement, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2022’s Most Expensive Cities for Home Improvement, an analysis from lawn care marketplace Lawn Love. The 200 largest U.S. cities were ranked on an index of 16 metrics pertaining to costs, cost inflators, builder and supply access, and income.

Home improvement costs are closely linked with income. Wealthier homeowners tend to have more expensive homes, which require pricier improvements. The higher incomes mean homeowners also have more money to spend on improvements, so contractors can charge higher hourly rates – not to mention the fact that wealthier residents may sink more money into cosmetic improvements that less wealthy homeowners may avoid. (These are the cities with the most expensive homes in America.)

The most expensive cities for home improvement are concentrated in just five states, to be exact. California is home to 19 of the 25 cities where home improvement is most expensive. Washington and New York have two each, while Hawaii and New Jersey have one each. 

These states not only have relatively high incomes, but many also feature unique geographic requirements that can drive up costs. For example, water is more expensive in California due to extensive drought conditions. These are the states with the worst drought right now.

Click here to see the worst places to pay for home improvement projects


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