DENVER (KDVR) — It isn’t food, gas, electricity, medical costs or entertainment that make Denver such an expensive city. It’s housing.

RentCafe’s updated information on city cost of living says Denver’s housing expense is the single item that pushes its general cost of living far above the average. Denver’s total cost of living is 12% higher than the national average.

Most consumer spending categories are higher in Denver than the nation, but Denver housing is a whopping 37% higher than the national average. Prices for both rent and ownership began rising in 2015 but spiked into the stratosphere in 2020.

Goods and services and transportation are 10% higher, food 6% higher and healthcare 1% higher. Denverites do catch a break with regard to utilities. Despite Xcel’s increasing rates, monthly utilities are still 18% below the national average.

Denver is also more expensive than Colorado, with the cost of living 8% higher than the state average.

Again, this is mainly due to Denver’s housing expense, which is 19% higher in the capital city than the statewide average.

As with the national rate, Denver does have lower utility costs than the state at large. Monthly utilities cost 8% less in Denver, and food 3% less.