According to a report by property search site HotPads.com, rent prices nationwide rose 11.6 percent in 2010, from an average of $1,181 in January to $1,319 in December.

“With the U.S. unemployment rate over 9 percent throughout 2010 (up from 4 percent in 2006), low-risk housing options became more desirable, a trend that may continue in the coming months,” the report said.

At the same time, HotPads expects to see foreclosed and longstanding for-sale properties re-enter the market as rentals, which should expand the rental supply, thereby helping ease rent prices. This represents an interesting contrast to the peak of the housing market in 2006, when rental units were being converted into for-sale condos.”

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