The Cost of a White Christmas: Homes in the Nation’s Snowiest States Cost Nearly $57,000 More Than Those With the Least Snow
Though a white Christmas may be on some people’s wish lists this year, it’s not on everyone’s. Some might 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).
We 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.
Tips for buying a home in a snowy state
If you can’t imagine living somewhere without an ample snow season each year, consider the following tips to make buying and owning a home in a snowy state more affordable.
- Shop around: No matter where you’re buying, shopping around for a mortgage before purchasing a home can help you get a lower rate and save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
- Ensure that you’ve got the right insurance: Having the proper home insurance is especially important in snowy areas, where bad weather can easily cause damage to your house. In the same way that shopping around for a mortgage can help save you money, shopping around for insurance can do the same.
- Consider weather-related costs: Those who live in a snowy area are likely to incur numerous costs related to the weather, from needing to spend extra on snow tires for their car to shelling out cash for a snowblower. By calculating how much you can afford to spend on a home each month, you can better budget for snow-related expenses.
LendingTree analyzed the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates — the latest available — for housing and income data.
Snowfall data, via the National Centers for Environmental Information, is based on the snowfall reported by Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) stations across a state. LendingTree calculated the total snowfall reported from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021, at each weather observation station that reported snowfall data in a given state. We then calculated the average of those totals to determine which states got the most — and least — snowfall.
Stations that reported “trace amounts” of snow were considered to have reported zero inches, while stations that didn’t report any data were excluded from average calculations.