A new study from LendingTree showed that some homebuyers may be willing to pay a premium to live in an area that gets plenty of snow during the holiday season, while others might be open to paying a similar premium for the opposite.
LendingTree analyzed U.S. Census Bureau and National Centers for Environmental Information data to compare the cost of median-priced homes on both sides of the snow globe (well, the states that got the most — and least — snow in December 2021).
LendingTree found that median-priced homes in the states with the most snow last December are more expensive, on average, than median-priced homes in the states with the least snow.
- Median home values in the 14 states that got the most snow in December 2021 are $56,814 more, on average, than median home values in the states that reported less than 0.00 inches of snow over the same period. That said, states that didn’t record snowfall aren’t always less expensive than their powdery peers. For example, the median home value in Hawaii of $722,500 is at least two times more than the median home value of $304,900 in Alaska — the state that reported the most snow.
- Though they tend to cost tens of thousands of dollars more, median-priced homes aren’t that much more expensive relative to median household incomes in the nation’s snowiest states. In the 14 states that saw the most snow last December, median-priced homes are an average of 4.32 times more expensive than median annual household incomes. In the 14 states that reported 0.00 inches of snow, they’re 3.93 times more expensive.
- With averages of 31.14, 18.13 and 15.15 inches, Alaska, Idaho and Utah recorded the highest snowfall amounts last December. Median home values in the states — $304,900, $369,300 and $421,700, respectively — are 4.93 times more than the median household incomes.
- Median home values in the nation’s snowiest states fluctuate quite a bit. Of the 14 states that reported the most snowfall last December, Washington has the highest median home value at $485,700. Michigan has the lowest median home value at $199,100.
- As in snowier states, home values vary significantly in the states that reported the least snowfall. Median home values in the states that reported 0.00 inches of snow in December 2021 range from as high as $722,500 in Hawaii to as low as $145,600 in Mississippi.
Home affordability in the nation’s snowiest states
No. 1: Alaska
- Average reported snowfall total in December 2021: 31.14 inches
- Median home value: $304,900
- Median household income: $77,845
- Median home value to income ratio: 3.92
No. 2: Idaho
- Average reported snowfall total in December 2021: 18.13 inches
- Median home value: $369,300
- Median household income: $66,474
- Median home value to income ratio: 5.56
No. 3: Utah
- Average reported snowfall total in December 2021: 15.15 inches
- Median home value: $421,700
- Median household income: $79,449
- Median home value to income ratio: 5.31
No. 4: North Dakota
- Average reported snowfall total in December 2021: 14.12 inches
- Median home value: $224,400
- Median household income: $66,519
- Median home value to income ratio: 3.37
No. 5: Minnesota
- Average reported snowfall total in December 2021: 14.00 inches
- Median home value: $285,400
- Median household income: $77,720
- Median home value to income ratio: 3.67
Homebuyers should consider snow-related costs
As our study illustrates — barring exceptions like Hawaii and California — buying a home in a snowy state is likely to cost more than doing so in a warmer part of the country. That said, certain factors can make living in a state that sees a lot of snow each year logistically challenging and expensive.
For example, while excessive heat can cause structural damage to a person’s home or make certain activities like going outside difficult, snow can be far more disruptive. Not only can severe cold and snow cause major home damage like burst pipes and flooding, but intense snowfall can also render travel virtually impossible. In extreme cases, being snowed in can prevent someone from important tasks like going to the grocery store or getting to a hospital for medical attention.
Of course, while those who live in snowier areas will likely need to spend more money on dealing with snow, that doesn’t mean that those who live in warmer areas will never see snowfall or deal with the logistical challenges it can bring. As a result, regardless of where you live, you should be sure your home is equipped to deal with winter weather.
To read the full report, including more charts and methodology, click here.