The apartment industry hit the ground running to kick off the new year, according to data released Tuesday.

National rent growth was the highest in January, at 4.9%, since Dallas-based research firm Axiometrics began monitoring the data on a monthly basis in April 2009.

Occupancy across the board remained strong at 94.6% nationally, a 48 basis-point increase over the 94.1% a year ago, the Axiometrics monthly report states.

Meanwhile, California markets are remaining the most aggressive. Four metros in the Golden State, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, are in the Top 10 rent growth markets of January. Oakland, often viewed as a more affordable area to live in, had the largest increase at 14.3% and the highest occupancy in the nation at 96.6%.

Here's how the other metro areas stacked up:

Top 10 Rent Growth Markets

  1. Oakland, Calif. 14.3%
  2. San Francisco, Calif. 12.5%
  3. Denver, Colo. 11.7%
  4. San Jose, Calif. 10.9%
  5. West Palm Beach, Fla. 8.8%
  6. Sacramento, Calif. 8.3%
  7. Atlanta, Ga. 8%
  8. Portland, Ore. 7.5%
  9. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 7.1%
  10. Seattle, Wash. 6.9%