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Phoenix, Atlanta Once Again Top Inflation Ranks of Major Cities

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 5/11/2022 Michael Sasso

(Bloomberg) -- Prices have settled in at an uncomfortably high level across major Sunbelt cities.

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While the increases are widespread among expense categories, housing accounts for almost a third of the consumer price index, and soaring rents and home prices are behind much of the inflation across the South and Southwest. 

The annual rate in Phoenix hit 11% in April, well ahead of the overall US rate of 8.3%, while prices in Atlanta bumped up slightly to 10.8%, according to government data released Wednesday. Other large coastal cities are also approaching double digit price increases, including Miami at 9.6%, and Seattle and Baltimore, both at 9.1%.

Sun Belt Sticker Shock | Prices have settled in at uncomfortable highs in the South and Southwest © Bloomberg Sun Belt Sticker Shock | Prices have settled in at uncomfortable highs in the South and Southwest

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’s broad housing category surged by 14.1% in Phoenix, more than double the 6.5% national average, while it rose by 9.3% in Atlanta. Those two cities are among the top 10 US migration destinations, according to real estate marketplace Redfin Corp.

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Sunbelt cities have dominated BLS’s monthly inflation reports for months. The government tracks prices in 23 metro areas, with New York, Los Angeles and Chicago reporting inflation every month and the other cities alternating every other month. Tampa, Florida and Riverside, California led big metro areas that reported prices in March, with each city surpassing 10% for the first time.

But among a wider group of about 400 cities tracked by Moody’s Analytics, the town that has the longest bout of inflation over the past six months is Midland, Texas, whose far-flung location makes everything costlier and harder to get.

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