No. 8 Biggest Rent Hike: Denver-Aurora, Colo.

Annual increase: 7.5%
Average monthly rent: $873
Vacancy rate: 5.6% (7.5% in 2009)
Average concession: -4%

Major employers in the Denver area include the federal, state, and local governments, the University of Colorado, HealthONE, Qwest Communications, and Lockheed Martin, according to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. The regional economy fared better than many in the country, and the group estimates that the metro Denver population grew by 15,514 last year and will continue expanding in 2011. Renters in parts of the Denver suburb Littleton saw rents spike by 13.4 percent last year, and in Northglenn, Thornton, and southeast Denver by 9.7 percent, according to AXIOMetrics. The Denver metro's average unemployment rate increased to about 8.3 percent, according to preliminary data from the BLS, from 7.9 percent in 2009.

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