The U.S. Neighborhoods with the Least (and Most) Excessive Property Fees

Homeownership can go a long way to satisfy the human need for shelter and stability. It’s also a satisfying investment for future growth and college or retirement funds. The Atlantic calls home ownership “a piggy bank, where the bottom 50 percent of the country (by wealth distribution) stores most of its wealth.”

A home is also just about as practical an asset as you can have: “Say your home appreciates 5 percent a year,” says Bruce Ailion, a realtor and real estate attorney. “[Y]our alternative may be, for instance, a bond that also pays a 5 percent return. However, you can’t live in a bond.”

However, homeownership comes with costs beyond the initial fees and principal and interest mortgage payments. In addition to maintenance and repairs, each month, you might expect to pay hundreds of dollars in:

  • Property tax. A tax usually based on property value and calculated by the local government.
  • Home insurance. Protection against property damage and destruction — usually an obligation set by the mortgage company.
  • Homeowner association (HOA) fees. If your new home is in a community governed by a homeowners association, HOA fees are payable to cover the maintenance of shared areas and amenities.

The level of these fees compared to your repayments can vary widely depending on where you live. So, we have analyzed these add-ons as a percentage of overall monthly costs around the U.S. to see where you can find the best deals — and which areas have the most disproportionate property fees.

What We Did

The research team at CashNetUSA analyzed Zillow’s “for sale” listings and calculated the estimated monthly payments for homeowner association (HOA) properties in 1,890 U.S. neighborhoods. We then ranked the neighborhoods with the highest and lowest monthly payments dedicated to property tax, home insurance and HOA fees as a percentage of total repayments (including Principal and Interest).

Key Findings

  • Prospect Lefferts Gardens in New York City is the U.S. neighborhood with the highest property fees relative to total yearly home payments (68.85%).
  • DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona, is the U.S. neighborhood with the lowest relative property fees (13.16%).
  • Clinton Hill is the New York City neighborhood with the lowest relative property fees (16.64%).
  • Westlake is the Los Angeles neighborhood with the highest relative property fees (37.67%).

What Determines the Price of Property Fees?

  • Property tax is calculated according to the assessed value of a home combined with the rates set by local and state governments.
  • The cost of home insurance depends on numerous factors, including those related to the property, such as its address, age and its distance to a fire station, as well as personal details of the homeowner including their credit history, claims history and marital status.
  • Homeowners association (HOA) fees can range from $100s per year to $1,000s per month depending on the amenities and services they pay for, along with other influences such as the property’s location and local cost of living standards.

The U.S. Neighborhoods with the Least Excessive Property Fees

All but one of the 20 least excessive neighborhoods for property fees are in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada or Alabama. And a quarter of the top 20 are in Scottsdale, Arizona. This includes the community of DC Ranch, which has America’s least excessive property fees, at just 13.16%. Arizona is already among the states with the lowest property taxes.

HOA fees at DC Ranch are by no means low in absolute terms (they are assessed monthly), but they come out as a very small percentage of monthly costs once property values are taken into account.

Infographic showing the U.S. neighborhoods with the least excessive property fees

The city of Mobile, Alabama, has cheaper property but still maintains very low fees as a proportion of overall costs. Two Mobile neighborhoods — Mobile and Milkhouse — are among the 20 cheapest in the U.S. for property fees. Residents of the neighboring Briargrove neighborhood were shocked when HOA fees jumped from a reported $300 to $6300 due to a drainage problem.

“She (HOA President) is effectively holding this neighborhood hostage,” said resident Susan Calder. “You can’t buy or sell. We had neighbors who wanted to buy a piece of land and start building, but they can’t do it right now. No one will touch this neighborhood.”

The U.S. Neighborhoods with the Most Excessive Property Fees

Two New York City neighborhoods are the most excessive in the U.S. for property fees. And this is not a case of NYC having among the most expensive housing costs overall — which it does — since our figures look at fees as a proportion of total housing costs.

Prospect Lefferts Gardens, in Brooklyn, is the most excessive of all, and by a considerable extent. Fees here account for 68.85% of overall ownership costs, compared to 64.84% for second-placed Flushing in Queens. Meanwhile, South Commons in Chicago is the third most expensive, at 56.88%.

Infographic showing the U.S. neighborhoods with the most excessive property fees

Prospect Lefferts Gardens is a highly desirable area, with home sales doubling in the first quarter of 2023 — pushing up sales prices by 50%. Elegant 19th-century architecture, picturesque streets and green areas drive up maintenance and repair costs, which may be reflected in HOA fees and insurance.

The New York City Neighborhoods with the Most and Least Excessive Property Fees

Prospect Lefferts Gardens (68.85%) and Flushing (64.84%) are the most expensive neighborhoods for property fees in NYC and the entire country (see The U.S. Neighborhoods with the Most Excessive Property Fees, above). Both the property prices and the proportion of property fees compared to these prices are significantly higher than third-placed Parkchester (50.28%). This large, middle-class apartment complex was built between 1938 and 1942 and underwent pricey renovations towards the end of the 20th century. Residents continue to expect high standards despite the relative affordability of these attractive homes.

New York City map and list showing the neighborhoods with the most and least excessive property fees

Clinton Hill is New York’s cheapest neighborhood for property fees (16.64%). One million dollars is considered a bargain for property in this wealthy area of the Big Apple. Property tax is the lowest consideration for Clinton Hill residents, compared to insurance and HOA fees. “Historically, the real estate taxes and long-term maintenance costs for a Brooklyn townhouse are comparably lower than any other form of real estate in New York City,” says real estate developer Bill Caleo.

The Los Angeles Neighborhoods with the Most and Least Excessive Property Fees

The most excessive property fees in LA can be found in the neighborhoods of Westlake (37.67%) and Encino (36.23%). Compared to LA’s other most expensive neighborhoods, much of this premium can be attributed to HOA fees. The “man-made paradise that is Westlake Lake” hit the headlines in the 1990s when newer housing association members effectively sued themselves to settle massive disparities between the HOA fees paid by newer and more established residents.

Los Angeles Map and list of neighborhoods with the most and least excessive property fees

Compared to New York City, the difference between the most and least excessive property fees is modest. LA’s cheapest property fees can be found in Beverly Crest, where they make up a still-substantial 21.31% of monthly payments. HOA fees are low, but property taxes among the least expensive ten neighborhoods make up a steady 14-15% of overall fees.

The Houston Neighborhoods with the Most and Least Excessive Property Fees

Property fees in the Houston neighborhood of the Astrodome Area make up nearly half (46.88%) of monthly payments — making it the most excessive fee zone by a stretch of more than 3%. This part of South Houston was “virtually empty” before the opening of the world’s first multi-purpose, domed sports stadium in 1965. Property prices are modest here — on average, 57% less than the second-placed Downtown neighborhood — which may explain why HOA fees make up such a high proportion of monthly costs.

Houston Map and list of neighborhoods with the most and least excessive property fees

Hunters Creek Village (25.72%) and Meyerland Area (26.94%) are Houston’s least excessive areas for property fees. Common with the other cheapest areas in Houston, the savings are made in HOA fees, which are below 3% of total costs in each of the ten cheapest neighborhoods and just 0.45% in Hunters Creek Village.

The Chicago Neighborhoods with the Most and Least Excessive Property Fees

Each of Chicago’s ten most excessive neighborhoods for property fees pays more than one-fifth of their monthly total towards HOA fees. Hyde Park has the highest proportion of HOA fees overall (40.98%), but in terms of total property fees (55.51%), it remains the second most excessive after South Commons (56.88%). The South Commons neighborhood has enjoyed the expansion of luxurious condominiums in recent years, with big promises — and high fees — for maintaining these dwellings.

Chicago map and list of neighborhoods with the most and least excessive property fees

Chicago’s cheapest areas for property fees are not far behind the most expensive ones. Nearly one-third of monthly ownership costs at Noble Square (31.73%) and Wicker Park (32.02%) go towards property fees. This should come as no surprise to homeowners in the Windy City, who pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation.

The Florida Neighborhoods with the Most and Least Excessive Property Fees

Florida’s most excessive neighborhoods for property fees are all in Orlando, Jacksonville or Tampa. The most excessive of all is Ventura in Orlando (52.56%). HOA fees comprise more than two-fifths (42.37%) of total payments here. Residents at one Ventura condo are suing their contractor and the board members who hired him, claiming that he inflated repair costs following Hurricane Ian.

“Last year I was paying $483 in regular HOA fees, and then the special assessment for my size unit was $1,001,” said Dockside resident Elizabeth Leuven. “That’s about the regular HOA if you live in Manhattan with a 24-hour concierge.”

List of Florida's neighborhoods with the most and least excessive property fees

Eight of the ten least excessive neighborhoods for property fees are at the cheaper end of the scale in Jacksonville. Property is more affordable here, but HOA fees average out at next to nothing. East Arlington (17.26%) and Crystal Springs (17.30%) are the two least excessive Florida neighborhoods of all.

The California Neighborhoods with the Most and Least Excessive Property Fees

California’s property fees are among the lowest that we’ve profiled; taxes average out at around 12-14% among both the most and least excessive neighborhoods, and only three have HOA fees higher than 20%. Those are the three neighborhoods with the highest overall property fees in the state: Gaslamp Quarter (38.62%) and Mira Mesa (38.46%) in San Diego and Westlake (37.67%) in LA.

List of California neighborhoods with the most and least excessive property fees

LA’s least excessive neighborhoods are a more mixed bunch. Most have HOA fees of around 2% or less, aside from the cheapest of all: Russian Hill in San Francisco, where HOA fees average 10.25%, but these are canceled out by low property taxes.

Another outlier is Beverly Crest in LA, where the property itself costs at least five times as much as any of the other cheap neighborhoods; proportionally, property fees are practically the same as in Stonewood, Stockton, although homes cost 55 times as much in Beverly Crest.

How to Save Money on Property Taxes

Taxes are an inevitable and essential part of owning property. But that doesn’t mean that you should accept them uncritically. Depending on your personal status and the nature of your home, you may be eligible for a reduction in property tax costs if you try the following:

1. Do your research

Your tax assessor should give you a tax card showing your property’s assessment information. But these tax cards are public records, so compare your results against those of similar neighboring homes — you can appeal if you feel your home has been unfairly overvalued.

2. Delay home improvements until after property revaluation

Big structural changes to your home can add value, which is great in the long run. But you’ll save on property taxes if you make such changes after your home has been assessed by the municipality.

3. Know your rights

Certain groups, such as senior citizens and military veterans, may be eligible for tax breaks or HOA fee reductions. Speak to an advisor to make sure you’re not overpaying.

Buying is an attractive alternative to renting, but a house is a long-term investment. A quick turnaround can involve paying a higher proportion of fees, leaving you out of pocket. Likewise, home improvements add value but will only pay off if they are planned carefully in the bigger context of your economic plan. Daily life in a home you own should be the pinnacle of comfort and security: get it right, and the investment will pay off both now and in the future.


Using Zillow’s “for sale” listings, we collected data on the estimated monthly payments for homeowner association (HOA) properties in total and broken down by principal and interest, property tax, home insurance and homeowners association fees in 1,890 U.S. neighborhoods.

We then ranked neighborhoods with the highest and lowest average percentage of monthly property repayments dedicated to property tax, home insurance and HOA fees combined.

We removed properties from the analysis that ​​did not have HOA fees listed or were not listed as part of a homeownership association.

The data for this analysis was collected in February 2024.

Disclaimer: The content in this report is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial, legal, accounting or tax advice. Any statements or information within this report are as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CashNetUSA or any of its affiliates. The information in this report should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. CashNetUSA makes no representations or warranties that the material contained herein will be accurate or that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.

Additional Sources

RentCafe. (n.d.). Cost of Living in Scottsdale, AZ.
Flying Horse Colorado. (n.d.). Welcome to Flying Horse – Colorado Springs, CO.
Olya, G. (2023). Housing Market 2023: The 10 Most Expensive Cities To Buy a Home Right Now.
Niche. (n.d.). Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.
Harper, K. B., & Runnels, A. (2023). 2023 Texas Demographic Center data shows where state’s growth is happening.
Greater Houston Partnership. (2023). Data, Insight & Analysis. (n.d.). South Commons.
Good Migrations. (n.d.). Moving to Westlake, made easy.
News-Press. (2024). Florida’s close, but not No.1: Here’s the state people moved to most in 2023.
Zillow. (n.d.). San Diego Home Values.

Back to Top