Rental rates are expected to continue their trend of modest growth in 2013, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

NAR reports that rents are expected to grow 4.6 percent in 2013, slightly higher than this year's growth rate of 4.1 percent.

Furthermore, Reis, a leading market analysis firm, noted that rents are expected to rise approximately 4 percent in 2014 and 2015, leading to growth for the industry for the foreseeable future.

Many market research analysts have been predicting gloom and doom for the rental apartment market since the housing sector began to show signs of recovery, but new data shows that the two sectors are capable of undergoing simultaneous growth. By the same token, rising rental costs may cause tenants to consider the financial benefits of homeownership.

Rental rates in certain metro areas are climbing even faster than the national rate, due to increased demand and a high volume of incoming  rental applications in those areas. San Francisco, for example, experienced a rent growth of 15 percent in 2011, while San Jose saw a jump of 13 percent.