Higher utility and housing prices helped push the cost of living in the Colorado Springs area to its highest level in nearly 15 years during the second quarter of 2018, compared with the national average, a survey shows.
Local costs were 98.4 percent of the national average in the April-to-June quarter, up from 95.1 percent during the same quarter last year and 97.7 percent during the previous quarter, says the Council for Community and Economic Research in Arlington, Va.
The council’s cost-of-living index for the area that second quarter was the highest since the third quarter of 2003, when it was 99 percent.
“Housing is really driving the closing of the gap” between Colorado Springs and the rest of the nation, said Tatiana Bailey, director of the Economic Forum at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. “Local housing prices are increasing at nearly double the rate of the national average, which is not surprising with the growth we have seen here.”
Four of the index’s six components rose from the previous quarter: housing, utilities, groceries and health care. Housing was at the national average, while transportation and health care were above the national average. Utilities was the lowest component compared with the national average, at 90.5 percent, up from 88.8 percent in the previous quarter and 76.3 percent a year earlier.
The council’s index doesn’t measure inflation. Instead, it compares prices for 57 goods and services used or purchased by households where middle managers live in 259 metropolitan areas. It’s designed to help managers compare living costs when moving to another city.
Elsewhere in Colorado, the cost of living rose in every metro area measured by the council during the second quarter. Denver rose to 112.7 percent of the national average from 110.7 percent a year earlier. Pueblo rose to 92.2 percent from 89.6 percent. Grand Junction was at 92.7 percent but wasn’t in the survey a year ago.
Harlingen, Texas, had the nation’s lowest cost of living in the survey, at 75.7 percent of the national average, while New York City had the highest at 238.3 percent.
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