No. 20 Biggest Rent Hike: Mobile, Ala.

Annual increase: 5.9%
Average monthly rent: $665
Vacancy rate: 6.9% (6.8% in 2009)
Average concession: -3%

After the BP oil spill last year the Mobile metro, on Alabama's southern coast, saw a temporary spike in occupancy, although industries such as tourism were negatively affected. The area had the state's highest unemployment rate in December, 9.9 percent, and estimates using BLS data show the annual jobless rate increased to about 10.8 percent in 2010 from 10.3 percent in 2009. Major employers include shipbuilder Austal, ThyssenKrupp Steel, and ST Mobile Aerospace Engineering, according to the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. As rents rose, home values dropped by 16.8 percent to $91,700 in January from a year earlier, Zillow.com data show. Also, the foreclosure rate jumped by nearly 28 percent to 1.79 percent in 2010, according to RealtyTrac.

 
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