Annual increase: 8%
Average monthly rent: $786
Vacancy rate: 5.5% (7.9% in 2009)
Average concession: -5%
As residents in the Nashville metro area shied away from buying last year, causing home prices to fall 8.5 percent in December from a year earlier, according to Zillow.com, rental rates rose above 2009 levels. Rent in parts of Donelson, Hermitage, and Wilson County jumped by 13.9 percent in 2010, according to AXIOMetrics. The jobless rate in metro Nashville in 2010 fell to an estimated average of 8.9 percent compared with 9.3 percent in 2009, according to BLS preliminary figures. Major employers include Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the government, schools, St. Thomas Health Services, and Nissan, according to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.