The cost of living in southern Utah continues to remain low, bucking the national trend, says Alan Hamlin, professor of finance at Southern Utah State College.

Hamlin compiles cost-of-living data through the SUSC business department for submission to the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association for its indexes, which are published quarterly.In the second-quarter 1990 report, Hamlin said the cost of living in Cedar City and St. George remained at 88.6 percent and 91.6 percent of the national average, respectively.

In contrast, Las Vegas was 108.9 percent; Phoenix was 106.9 percent; and Los Angeles was 124.1 percent of the national average.

But food costs were 99.4 percent of the national average in St. George and 103.1 percent in Cedar City; and transportation costs were 101.3 percent and 93.1 percent, respectively.

Health costs were 94.9 percent of the national average in St. George and 88.4 percent in Cedar City, while miscellaneous costs - everything from "the price of haircuts to the cost of hamburgers" - was 98.2 percent in St. George and 95.8 percent in Cedar City, Hamlin said this week.

Housing and utilities remained key areas in pulling down the overall cost of living in southern Utah. With its municipal power system, St. George's utility costs were the sixth lowest in the nation at 65 percent of average, while Cedar City was 81.7 percent of the national average.

In housing, Cedar City was third lowest in the nation at 68.3 percent, while St. George was 83.1 percent. In rental housing, however, Cedar City was the very lowest of all 280 cities on the ACCRA list.

The average rental price of a 900 square-foot dwelling in Cedar City was $277 for the second quarter, but Hamlin said there are indications rental prices are rising.