The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index increased 1.2% from April to May on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Year over year, the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index has grown 3.1%, while the national Consumer Price Index has increased 1.8% since May of last year.
For the third consecutive month, rising prices in the transportation sector drove monthly price growth along the Wasatch Front. Transportation prices climbed 2.4% in May, due mostly to rising gasoline and airfare prices. Year over year growth in the transportation sector slowed slightly, down to 1.5% from 1.7% in April.
Housing prices also lifted for the fourth straight month, with housing sector prices now 0.8% higher than in April. Hikes in apartment rental rates drove a small portion of the increase; while costs for temporary housing, measured via hotel and motel rates, rose 11% in the past month, a common summer season trend. Significantly, housing’s 12-month price growth, now at 4%, declined for the sixth consecutive month and is at the lowest point since April 2018, suggesting that housing price growth across the Wasatch Front is tempering.
Although its contribution to 12-month price growth is modest compared to that of housing, medical care is the second-largest driver of year-over-year price increases. Medical care prices edged up 2.4% since last month and 7.5% since May 2018.
While Wasatch Front price growth remains higher than the Fed’s target inflation rate of 2%, it is at one of its lowest points in recent years.
“The moderating price growth is a great sign for Utahns,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner of Cicero Group. “It means that we are reaching a more sustainable level of both supply and demand. Producers are hitting their stride, yet still have room to grow while consumers are pleased to see price changes evening out.”
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 June 26.