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Midwest inflation and Boone County housing trends: a mixed economic bag

Coins lying on top of a dollar bill.
Kenny Eliason
Due to inflation, sosts in food, beverage and housing have all increased substantially.

Recent economic statistics present a complex picture for the Midwest region, including Boone County, reflecting a blend of rising prices and shifting real estate dynamics. In the Midwest, the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers has surged by 3.2% over the past year, piling on the growing concerns of the cost of living for residents in the region, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

One notable aspect of this inflation data is the substantial increase in the cost of food and beverages, which has climbed by 3.6% over the last year. A closer look reveals that cereals and bakery products, as well as alcoholic beverage products, have been hit particularly hard, experiencing an even steeper hike of 5.1% and 6.7% respectively.

Simultaneously, the housing market in Boone County tells a more nuanced story. The average number of days on market for single-family homes has increased by more than 40% in the past year, according to the Columbia Board of Realtors.

While this might indicate a longer wait for sellers, it could also be a sign of a more deliberate buying process, where homebuyers are taking their time to find the right property.

“We’ve seen rising interest rates of 5% to 7% for 30-year mortgages and, in turn, lots of hesitant homebuyers,” said Jane Williams, executive director and co-founder of Love Columbia.

Furthermore, the average sold price for single-family homes in Boone County saw a substantial uptick, rising by 7% in August 2023 compared to August 2022. Williams said the price increase has both positive and negative aspects.

“Yes, it shows Boone County is an attractive destination for homeowners, but it is also going to price out prospective homeowners,” Williams said.

While rising prices for homes indicate appreciating assets for homeowners, the same is not true for the rising price of rent. Rent of primary residence is up 7% across the Midwest since September 2022, leaving those most susceptible to the adverse effects of inflation and the increased cost of living in a difficult situation.

“It is shocking so many people are being priced out of the market,” Williams said. “Since the slowdown in homebuilding since 2008, we’re left with high rent price and low rental vacancies. It’s like musical chairs: Someone has to give up their seat and is left on crutches.”

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.
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