Seasonal price decreases in the housing sector nudge Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index slightly downwards

The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index (CPI) decreased 0.4 percent from September to October on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

The majority of this decrease has been caused by seasonal changes in demand for apartment rentals and hotels and motels. Although the index has decreased slightly since last month, the cost of living within the state is up 3.3 percent year-over-year while the national Consumer Price Index decreased 0.1 percent from September to October and has increased 2.0 percent from this time last year.

Much of October’s cost of living decrease can be explained by seasonal decreases in demand for apartment rentals and hotel and motel rooms. Month-over-month, housing prices have decreased 1.5 percent statewide. According to historical Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index data, overall housing prices typically fall during the month of October, as demand for housing and hotel rooms decreases significantly following the busy summer months. Prices in other areas of the economy remained relatively stable this month, a good sign for an economy that has witnessed relatively high levels of inflation in recent months.

“This year, growth within Utah’s economy has had a large impact on the cost of living increases that Utahns are seeing statewide,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO.  “It’s encouraging to see price stability within many sectors of the economy, a trend that I anticipate continues in future months.”

Although prices in October have remained relatively flat, the following sectors witnessed slight price increases in the past month:

  • Education and telecommunication prices increased 1.2 percent in October and 4.8 percent since last year, as prices for internet providers continue to increase slightly
  • Food away prices increased 0.8 percent this past month, and are up 5.2 percent year-over year due to substantial price increases for full-service meals

Food at home, utilities, medical care, and recreation prices all remained unchanged from a month earlier. Continued price stability should be a key component to a healthy statewide economy in the future.

“As the Utah economy continues to grow at its historic pace, it is likely that inflationary pressures will continue in certain sectors such as housing,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner at Cicero Group. “The easing of these pressures in the housing sector, as we saw in October, is a good sign that Utah’s growth is healthy and sustainable.”

Analysis and data collection for the Zions Bank CPI and the Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index are provided by Cicero Group, a premier market research firm based in Salt Lake City. The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index will be released November 28, 2017.