Fuel prices drive Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index higher while housing price growth slows

zions bankThe Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index climbed 1.1% from March to April on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Year over year, the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index has grown 3.4%, while the national Consumer Price Index has increased 2% since April of last year.

Due almost entirely to a rapid rise in gas prices, transportation costs jumped 5.7% in the past month. This is the largest month-to-month leap since June 2015. Gas prices soared 31% in April and are 3.2% higher than they were in April 2018. 

In the housing sector, hikes in hotel and motel prices, along with slight lift in apartment rates, contributed to an uptick in overall costs. Housing prices are at the highest level ever recorded, setting a record high for the third straight month. However, the year-over-year change in housing prices, at 5.2% in April, is the lowest it has been since June 2018 and price growth in the sector has dropped for the fourth straight month.

Slight dips in prices for food at home and utility rates put downward pressure on the overall consumer price index. The utilities sector is the only area showing a year-over-year decline in prices at 1.2% lower than in April 2018.

“Utah’s strong economy inevitably has put upward pressure on prices,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank.  “The positive to this trend is Utahns are seeing increased wages and income as well.”

Additionally, Utahns should get some relief at the gas pump as refinery maintenance ends and capacity grows.

“Although gas prices have shot up, we do not expect that trend to continue,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner at Cicero Group. “This will be good for the overall economy as gas prices tend to cause fluctuations in prices across the board.” 

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