Annual increase: 8%
Average monthly rent: $900
Vacancy rate: 6.7% (8.9% in 2009)
Average concession: -3%
As renters in the Puget Sound region remained on the sidelines instead of entering the for-sale residential market, the apartment sector noted improved fundamentals: The absorption rate reached a 10-year peak, leasing activity increased, and more new construction was delivered, reported advisory Hendricks & Partners. Lakewood, a suburb of Tacoma, had the highest rental rate increase of all submarkets tracked by AXIOMetrics last year: 16 percent. Tacoma's average jobless rate rose to 9.6 percent last year from 9.2 percent in 2009, show BLS preliminary data.