Surging housing costs in the Colorado Springs area, rising twice as fast as the national average, helped push the area’s cost of living slightly higher in 2017, according to a nationwide survey.
Local costs were 95.7 percent of the national average in 2017, up from 94 percent in 2016 and the highest since reaching 97.4 percent of the national average in 2014, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research in Arlington, Va. The 2016 cost of living for the Springs was the lowest annual average since 2011.
"This is no surprise given what other reports have indicated about the Colorado Springs housing market, especially considering that housing costs typically represent a major part of the household budget for most people," said Tom Binnings, senior partner of Summit Economics LLC, a Colorado Springs economic research and consulting firm.
Five of the six components in the index rose from a year earlier, with housing leading the way. The housing component jumped from 97 percent of the national average in 2016 to 101.1 percent in 2017, triggered by apartment rents and home prices both increasing at more than twice the national average. Local apartment rents were up 8.8 percent to $1,201 a month, while housing prices rose 6 percent to $312,724. Apartment rents rose 4.2 percent nationally during the same period and housing prices increased 2.9 percent.
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, using a base of 269 metropolitan areas. It’s designed to help managers compare living costs when moving to another city.
Elsewhere in Colorado, costs in the Denver, Pueblo and Glenwood Springs areas all moved higher. Denver costs were 112 percent of the national average, Pueblo costs were 90.6 percent and costs in Glenwood Springs were 118.9 percent. The council also measured costs in Grand Junction last year at 94.1 percent of the national average, but the Western Slope city wasn’t part of the 2016 survey.
McAllen, Texas, was the nation’s lowest-cost metro area at 76.1 percent of the national average, and New York City was highest at 238.6 percent.
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