Industry experts are forecasting double-digit rent hikes soon.
With vacancy rates dipping below the 10% mark, demand is picking up, which is expected to put upward pressure on rental prices.
"The demand for rental housing has already started to increase," says Peggy Alford, president of Rent.com. "Young people are starting to get rid of their roommates and move out of their parents' basements."
By 2012, Alford predicts the vacancy rate will drop to 5%, causing prices to rise.
Rent hikes have been modest the past decade, averaging less than 1% a year in adjusting for inflation.