From homes to health care, here are some products and services you’ll pay more cash for this year.
- Mail: Mailing a letter or a package is going to get more expensive this year … yet again. On January 26,the U.S. Postal Service will raise the price of a stamp from 46 cents to 49 cents. To save on mailing costs, stock up on Forever stamps before the hike.
- A House: Home prices aren’t expected to surge like they did in 2013. But they are expected to increase by almost 5% this year. At the same time, the cost of borrowing will be more expensive. While mortgage rates reached historic lows last year, average 30-year fixed rates have already risen roughly one percentage point to around 4.5%.
- Rent: Market research firm Axiometrics predicts that apartment rents nationwide will rise 3.1% from 2013’s average of $1,107 a month, or even more if hiring picks up. Rents are expected to jump the most in hot real estate markets like California’s Bay Area, Portland and Seattle, which are all benefiting from strong local job markets.
- Chocolate: WHAT? More bad news for your sweet tooth. As cocoa prices continue to rise, you may have to shell out more money for your favorite candy bar. The culprit: growing demand in emerging markets and bad weather in major cocoa producing countries have created a major supply problem.
- Satellite TV: Both DirecTV and Dish Network will increase prices for almost all of their packages, with fee hikes ranging from $2 to $5 a month. Both companies raised their rates last year as well.
- Health Care: Health care premiums for large employer-sponsored plans are expected to rise by as much as 7%, compared to a roughly 3.3% increase in 2013. Average employee costs, including premiums and out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays and deductibles, are expected to reach nearly $5,000, an increase of almost 150% from a decade ago.
- Taxes: Dozens of tax credits and benefits — on everything from supplies purchased by teachers to energy-efficient home improvements — expired on Dec. 31. While some or all of the tax breaks could be reinstated by Congress, don’t count on it.