In Detroit, you might only make a mortgage payment of $277 a month, which includes taxes and insurance. But, you could also pay $227 a month for utilities, which negates the appeal of your home's affordability.
Trulia studied the impact that utility bills have on housing affordability across the nation. The site found that people in single family homes spend a median of $2,715 annually (or $226 a month) on utilities, ranging from $196 a month at the low end (in Dayton, Ohio) to $362 a month on the high side (in Atlanta). Since the utility bills are a consistent rate, they only take up a smaller share of the total monthly housing costs in the most expensive cities. A $313 bill for utilities is nothing in San Francisco, where mortgage payments are around $6,300.
In most places, looking at utility expenses as a proportion of home values reveals a more predictable pattern. Most metro areas, where home prices tend to be higher than their surrounding rural areas, look much less expensive comparatively. Coastal regions, both metropolitan and otherwise also look much more affordable when considering home values. The entire state of Georgia, save a few of the pricier zip codes in the Atlanta area, still shows up as expensive for utilities.