Bullhead City remains the most affordable city in Arizona, aaccording to the 2014 Annual Average Cost of Living Index (COLI), published by the Council for Community and Economic Research in Arlington, Virginia. The COLI report, released in January, provides comparative data for 281 urban areas in all 50 states.
Bullhead City’s cost of living index in 2014 was 93.8 percent, which is 6.2 percent lower than the national average of all participating places nationwide.
The cost of living in Bullhead City in 2014 was 6.6 percent lower than Lake Havasu City and 4.1 percent lower than the Prescott-Prescott Valley area. Housing and utilities costs were lower in Bullhead City, than both Lake Havasu City and Prescott-Prescott Valley area. Grocery items and health costs were also lower than Lake Havasu City.
In 2014, all categories of cost except transportation and health costs were lower in Bullhead City than nationwide. Transportation costs were 1.5 percent above the national average in 2014 and health care costs were 3.1 percent above the national average in 2014.
As for the remaining price levels; local grocery costs were 1.7% below the national average in 2014.
Housing costs in Bullhead City was 14.1 percent below the national average in 2014, and compared to the other seven participating Arizona cities, Bullhead City is the lowest for housing costs with the exception of Tucson at 15.7 percent below the national average.
Local utilities cost was 22.3 percent below the national average in 2014. This is the third year in a row that local utilities cost has remained at double digit percentages below the national average.
The local cost of miscellaneous goods and services was 0.4 percent below the national average in 2014.
The COLI measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services in participating areas. The average for all participating places equals 100 and each participant’s index is read as a percentage of the average for all places. It includes separate weighted sub-indices for grocery items (meats, dairy products, produce, bakery products, and other miscellaneous items), housing (new home prices, mortgage rates, and apartment rentals), utilities (electricity, other home energy, gas and telephone service), transportation (gasoline and tire balancing), health care (optometrist visits, doctor visits, dental visits, and prescription and non-prescription medications) and miscellaneous goods and services (a wide range of categories, including food away from home, personal care items, apparel, household operations items, entertainment, and alcoholic beverages).
Declining relative prices from 2013 to 2014 do not necessarily mean local prices have dropped. Lower relative prices can occur if prices in other participating areas of the nation rise and local prices stay the same or decline (or increase at a slower rate than nationally). Put another way, the COLI doesn’t measure local price changes from period to period, but rather changes in how local prices compare to prices in other areas from period to period.
Statewide, there were eight places participating in the COLI in 2014. In addition to Bullhead City, other participating areas were Flagstaff, Lake Havasu City, Phoenix, Prescott-Prescott Valley, Sierra Vista, Tucson, and Yuma. Of those participating areas for 2014, Bullhead City has the lowest overall cost of living index for this period. The highest cost of living of participating places in Arizona last year was Flagstaff, which was 17.9 percent above the national average.
COLI data for the City of Bullhead is collected by the City Manager’s Administrative staff and submitted to the Council for Community and Economic Research for inclusion in the index.
“Compared to other cities across Arizona and the nation, a dollar goes farther in Bullhead City,” said City Manager Toby Cotter. “This is why we continue to see individuals from southern California and the Midwest build second homes, retirement homes and relocate to our community.”
If you have any questions on the cost of living data, please feel free to contact the City Manager’s office at (928)763-9400. Please feel free to check out the Cost-of-Living Index Calculator on the City’s website, go to www.bullheadcity.com/movingto.