Market finishes 2012 with continued improvement as rental rates increase in December

Rents rose in numerous areas of the country to end 2012, with some areas even experiencing rental gains that outpaced home prices.

The overall rental price gain average was 5.2 percent in December, which was higher than the national home price growth jump of 5.1 percent, a report from Trulia revealed. Houston experienced the most significant jump of all metro areas with a more-than-16 percent gain.

Of the 25 metro areas included in the firm's Rent Monitor, 17 markets experienced gains higher than home prices. Oakland and Miami rounded out the top three with gains of 12.6 and 10.3 percent each. Denver and Seattle experienced nearly identical gains, as the two cities eclipsed 8 percent.

The only city to experience a decline in rent growth during December was Las Vegas, the report noted. This figure fell 0.9 percent compared to December 2011. While Phoenix had a rental price gain of 2.7 percent, it was far below the asking price level increase of 26 percent.

Property managers experiencing price gains may still see an influx in rental applications due to the high demand for rental properties at this time.