Volume 105, Number 41 - October 9, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
by Jonathan Van Dyke
Wyoming is catching up to Sublette County in housing prices, but the county may also be leveling off somewhat, according to a recent report by the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division (WEAD).
The county’s housing saw the biggest drop in the WEAD’s cost of living index, which compares each county with the statewide average. Sublette’s housing market only rose by 3.9 percent, a change from the somewhat dramatically climbing past.
“That’s a significant drop in housing, and is probably somewhat attributable to the housing slump across the nation,” said Michael Coburn, socioeconomic analyst for the Sublette Community Partnership.
While housing in Sublette appeared to stabilize, many other areas couldn’t say the same.
“We were seeing housing increases in other places, and in some of the other mineral impact areas, and also Teton County,” said Justin Ballard, WEAD senior economist. [The decrease in cost living index] is probably more of a function of other areas increasing.”
More than anything, the new information may hint that this area is not completely immune to the national market.
“Everything is kind of a little less certain,” Ballard said.
Rentals stayed high at an increase of 6.2 percent, possibly because of that uncertainty.
“Housing in particular, you’re seeing going down,” Coburn said. “More people might be looking for rentals, so that market could keep pretty tight.”
Statewide, Wyoming has been seeing the crunch of rising inflation, a problem that is often attributable to rising transportation costs and gas prices. Southwest Wyoming was at an 8.1 inflation rate for the second quarter of 2008 compared to the national average of five.
While housing came down closer to the state average, the county’s other amenities — food, apparel, transportation, medical, recreation and personal care — hovered at previous standards.
Sublette County ranked as the second most expensive county in the state to Teton County. Experts don’t see that fact changing anytime soon.
“Sublette County has ranked as the second most expensive county for quite a while, and as long as this current economic condition holds, I think it will remain that way for a while,” Ballard said.
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