Rents for new apartment leases crept up 3 percent nationwide last year, according to MPF Research.

The usual suspects, including San Francisco and New York, topped the list of rent growth leaders, leaving no room for surprises, says Greg Willett, MPF's vice president of research and analysis.

“It’s the strong fundamentals markets,” he said. “They’re all getting solid employment growth.”

San Francisco continues to lead the pack, followed by the other two Bay Area markets, San Jose and Oakland.

 “It’s a place that’s chronically undersupplied, a very tight market,” he said.

The number of apartments under construction at the end of 2012 rose to 224,000 units across the nation’s 100 largest metros, according to a RealPage news release.

Areas like Nashville and Denver were able to take a spot on the list due to having strong overall economies and allowing job growth and household creation to fill in the spots where people moved on to purchase homes.

“Nashville is one where you do have some active construction and some deliveries going on,” he said. “It remains healthy, but it bounces back and forth from quarter to quarter.”

Detroit, West Palm Beach and Orange County fell just below the top 10 with prices rising between 3.7 and 4.1 percent in those areas.

Virginia Beach/Norfolk, New Orleans and Riverside/San Bernardino fell to the bottom of the pack with growth under 1 percent.

Willett believes this could be attributed to how these specific areas are still struggling to bounce back from the recession’s economic downturn.

Las Vegas came in last with a negative figure.

“The economy is also struggling in Vegas and they are just so overstocked in total housing,” he said.

Top Ten Best Rent Growth Markets


San Francisco 8.0%
2 San Jose  7.7%
3 Oakland  7.1%
4 Denver-Boulder  5.9%
5 (tie) Nashville  5.1%
6 (tie) New York 5.1%
7 Houston  4.8%
8 Charlotte  4.6%
9 Portland  4.4%
10 Seattle-Tacoma  4.3%

Top Ten Worst Markets for Rent Growth
1 Las Vegas -1.7%
2 Virginia Beach/Norfolk 0.3%
3 New Orleans 0.8%
4 Riverside/San Bernardino 0.8%
5 Atlanta 1.1%
6 Indianapolis 1.3%
7 Hartford 1.4%
8 Providence 1.4%
9 Sacramento 1.4%


Washington, DC 1.4%