From everyday necessities to once-in-a-lifetime purchases, costs have increased since 2006 in the Morgantown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), according to the latest Morgantown MSA Economic Monitor issued by the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics.

The prices of some items such as eggs, cereal and houses have increased from 8 percent to 119 percent since the beginning of 2006,said Amy Higginbotham ofWVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER).

Although prices have increased gradually over time, Morgantowns total cost of living remains average for an urban area in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2006.

We still have an average cost of living either because of a decline in the prices of other items in our area or because prices are also going up in other urban areas in the U.S.,Higginbotham said.

The prices of some items purchased daily at a grocery store in Morgantown have increased dramatically from the first quarter of 2006 to the third quarter of 2007. The price of a dozen large, Grade A eggs has risen by approximately 119 percent with average quarterly increases of 15.5 percent. Other items such as ground beef, milk and cereal have also increased in cost.

Higginbotham said the increases could be linked to greater demand for ethanol and higher fuel costs. The Producer Price Index rose 3.2 percent in November, up from only a 0.1 percent rise in October mainly because of a 14.1 percent rise in energy prices.

Grocery items have not been the only items with increasing prices in Morgantown. Home prices are also on the rise. The price of a new 2,400-square-foot house with a garage has increased by 10.7 percent with average quarterly increases of 1.8 percent from the first quarter in 2006 to the third quarter of 2007.

Similar increases in home value have not occurred in surrounding areas such as Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and Charleston. Those areas have experienced house price depreciation from 1 percent to 14 percent during the same period.

The December edition of the Morgantown MSA Economic Monitor, compiled by the WVU BBER , contains the full analysis of these trends. The Monitor is a quarterly publication of the BBER with underwriting support provided in part by Clear Mountain Bank. Copies of the publication can be found athttp://www.bber.wvu.edu.