If it felt like things got more expensive over the past year, you weren't imagining it. Prices for some goods and services rose faster here than in the rest of the country, according to new federal data.

Around the Washington-Baltimore area, the consumer price index, a standard gauge for inflation, rose 2.9 percent in January compared with the same period last year. Nationwide, inflation climbed 2.1 percent in the same period.

Those figures are not adjusted for seasonal factors that can affect prices. And Maureen Greene, a supervisor economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics regional office in Philadelphia, cautioned that the smaller sample size for the Washington area can contribute to greater volatility in the local index.

The leading force for inflationary pressure locally appeared to be a rise in housing prices, up 5.5 percent last month compared with January 2006. Greene noted that much of the increase can be attributed to area residents paying more this year to rent ski lodges or hotels in warm places like Florida.

What else got more expensive? In a report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the cost of club membership dues and sports equipment rose during the past two months.

Some prices, meanwhile, declined. Apparel prices fell 1.7 percent, fueled largely by a dip in prices around the holiday season. Transportation costs also fell due to year-over-year declines in gas prices.

-- Cecilia Kang