Prices on necessities are up, but will they go down?

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you have been in a grocery store lately, you likely noticed that prices on some of the items you routinely buy are up significantly.

The price increase is not across the board, but shoppers are finding that to be the case on many of their necessities.

"It seems like I sat at home for most of the year, and then when I came out of hibernation, everything was three times more than it was before," Selandras Villanueva said.

When she goes to the grocery store, Villanueva said she is making tough choices, like not buying beef anymore because of the price.

"You see my boys, they are huge and food is so expensive," the mother said. "I swear they are going to be clucking like chickens by the time they leave, because that's all I can afford to give them is chicken. I haven't gone to the grocery store and paid less than $100."

It is not just groceries. Villanueva said she has noticed prices have increased for food, gas, electricity, car repairs and her cell phone bill. She fears the elevated costs may be here to stay.

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"There's good reason to expect this is not going to be something we are living with for years and years," said Dietrich Vollrath, the chair of the University of Houston's economics department. "Maybe a month or two more."

He said the surge in prices is either because companies are trying to ramp back up after a decreased demand for their product over the last year, or they are facing supply chain issues because of the pandemic.

"I think that is the reaction of an economy trying to figure its way out," Vollrath said. "How do you exit lockdowns and shutdowns and slowdowns associated with a pandemic?"

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While he believes some of the prices will drop back to normal, he said airfare is a different story. Prices seem to have increased considerably, but Vollrath said they are actually still below average.

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"We are seeing the rebound, and a lot of those aren't even back to where they were a year ago," Vollrath said. "But it's the shock of seeing the increase by large amounts and big percentages all at once."

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