Special Report

The Worst Places to Pay for Home Improvement Projects

Tim Boyle / Getty Images News via Getty Images

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

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

25. Anaheim, CA
> Overall score: 55.96
> Cost rank: #40 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #107 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #54 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad]

Source: roman_slavik / iStock via Getty Images

24. Seattle, WA
> Overall score: 56.08
> Cost rank: #10 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #185 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #13 highest out of 200

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

23. Jersey City, NJ
> Overall score: 56.24
> Cost rank: #7 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #105 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #33 highest out of 200

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

22. Fullerton, CA
> Overall score: 56.29
> Cost rank: #43 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #86 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #27 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

20. San Diego, CA
> Overall score: 56.50
> Cost rank: #30 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #106 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #29 highest out of 200

Source: sanfel / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

20. Orange, CA
> Overall score: 56.50
> Cost rank: #25 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #157 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #16 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad]

Source: Art Wager / iStock via Getty Images

19. Long Beach, CA
> Overall score: 57.33
> Cost rank: #49 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #44 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #70 highest out of 200

Source: Ben Babusis, www.BenBabusis.com / iStock via Getty Images

18. Bellevue, WA
> Overall score: 57.34
> Cost rank: #5 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #187 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #2 highest out of 200

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

17. Yonkers, NY
> Overall score: 58.11
> Cost rank: #14 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #76 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #59 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: HaizhanZheng / E+ via Getty Images

16. Santa Clarita, CA
> Overall score: 58.33
> Cost rank: #19 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #37 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #21 highest out of 200

Source: Bob Corson / iStock via Getty Images

15. Santa Rosa, CA
> Overall score: 58.53
> Cost rank: #13 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #181 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #46 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad]

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

14. Huntington Beach, CA
> Overall score: 58.69
> Cost rank: #26 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #100 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #17 highest out of 200

Source: Ron and Patty Thomas / E+ via Getty Images

13. Los Angeles, CA
> Overall score: 59.40
> Cost rank: #37 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #27 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #47 highest out of 200

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

12. Irvine, CA
> Overall score: 59.52
> Cost rank: #16 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #62 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #9 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

11. Hayward, CA
> Overall score: 59.79
> Cost rank: #9 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #154 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #32 highest out of 200

Source: Art Wager / iStock via Getty Images

10. Honolulu, HI
> Overall score: 60.11
> Cost rank: #24 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #180 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #51 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad]

Source: Greg Hetrick / iStock via Getty Images

9. Torrance, CA
> Overall score: 60.48
> Cost rank: #22 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #123 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #20 highest out of 200

Source: TomasSereda / iStock via Getty Images

8. New York, NY
> Overall score: 61.00
> Cost rank: #8 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #35 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #38 highest out of 200

Source: Melpomenem / iStock via Getty Images

7. Oakland, CA
> Overall score: 61.20
> Cost rank: #11 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #128 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #25 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images

6. Glendale, CA
> Overall score: 61.22
> Cost rank: #36 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #67 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #50 highest out of 200

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

5. Pasadena, CA
> Overall score: 63.47
> Cost rank: #12 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #93 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #18 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad]

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

4. Fremont, CA
> Overall score: 66.51
> Cost rank: #2 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #99 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #3 highest out of 200

Source: ibsky / iStock via Getty Images

3. San Francisco, CA
> Overall score: 66.81
> Cost rank: #4 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #167 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #4 highest out of 200

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

2. San Jose, CA
> Overall score: 66.93
> Cost rank: #3 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #126 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #8 highest out of 200

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

1. Sunnyvale, CA
> Overall score: 70.02
> Cost rank: #1 highest out of 200
> Builder and supply access rank: #97 highest out of 200
> Income rank: #1 highest out of 200

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.