Leaping council tax combined with steeper utility charges were the main factors driving up the cost of owning and running a home by seven per cent during the 2004/05 tax year - more than three times the rate of inflation.
Publishing this finding yesterday, Halifax, Britain's biggest mortgage lender, said that over the past three years to 04/05 the cost of owning, buying and running a home have rocketed by 14 per cent - compared with headline inflation of 4.6 per cent.
In the present tax year starting last April, an explosion in gas an electricity bill combined with another round of council tax increases has created a situation where these items took a bigger share of housing costs than mortgage interest.
Meantime, Halifax's seasonally adjusted measure of house prices jumped by 1.4 per cent in February, the biggest monthly gain since August and more than offsetting a 0.2 per cent dip in January.
This had the effect of lifting year-on-year house price inflation to 5.5 per cent - steeper than at any time since last May - and the average price of a "standardised" home to £173,498.
Halifax said total annual housing costs increased by £418 from £5,948 in 2003/4 to £6,366 in 2004/5. Over those two years, higher mortgage interest payments contributed the most to the rise - reaching an average of £2,146.
In the 2005/06 tax year, though, lower mortgage rates will be more than offset by soaring fuel and council tax bills. That does not include the impact of the 22 per cent increase in British Gas's gas and electricity tariffs earlier this month nor, the coming round of council tax increases expected to average 4.6 per cent.
Together they will represent about 36 per cent of all total housing costs in the 2006/07 year, Halifax said. It estimates that housing expenses absorb 17.5 per cent of the income of the average home-owner.
Halifax forecasts that house prices will rise by three per cent over 2006, broadly in line with retail inflation. The annual rate is expected to be higher in the next few months when the comparison will be against very small rises, or slight falls early last year.
Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax, said "The combination of improving economic growth, low interest rates and high employment, will continue to underpin a healthy level of housing demand over the next few months."
But a number of factors should hold back demand for housing prevent house price inflation from speeding up this year.
"The continuing high level of house prices in relation to earnings will curb the ability of many potential first-time buyers to enter the market," he said.