Utah’s cost of living drops for second month in a row in Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index

The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index decreased 0.1 percent from August to September on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

Year-over-year, the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index has grown 4.8 percent, while the National Consumer Price index has increased 2.3 percent since September of last year.

Decreasing prices in the transportation and housing sectors drove the decline in the overall cost of living statewide. This is the first time since October of last year that both transportation and housing prices fell in the same month. Eases in car insurance and hotel rates caused the drop in transportation prices while dips in hotel and motel prices caused prices in the housing sector to edge down.

This month ends a four-month streak of the year-over-year CPI growth exceeding five percent. The 4.8 percent annual growth this month remains one of the highest annual rates measured since 2010.  It is also a full percent higher than the highest measured national year-over-year CPI growth since 2011.

Increases to housing prices made up about half of the year-over-year increase in the Wasatch Front CPI followed by transportation, making up about 30 percent of the increase, and medical care, making up about 10 percent of the increase. Although prices for food at home and recreation did drop since September of 2017, their combined dip only tempered the increase slightly.

“The overall upward trend in housing prices continues,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank. “We keep watching housing prices because they now make up about 38 percent of the average Utahn’s expenses, and we anticipate they continue rising.” The state has outstanding job growth of 3.5 percent in the last 12 months. It also saw real median household income increase by 3.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, which is 1.7 percent above the national average.

“The price increases we see here in Utah are due to the combination of rapid population growth, low unemployment, strong job growth, and growing wages,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “Because more Utahns have more to spend on everything from housing to restaurants, prices are able to keep increasing with demand. The good news is price growth with corresponding wage and employment growth is sustainable, healthy growth.”

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.