(Bloomberg) -- US apartment rents rose 4.7% in December from a year earlier, the slowest pace since July 2021, according to data from real estate firm Rent.com released Thursday 

Rental prices fell 1.4% from the previous month, with the national median price for an apartment dropping to $1,978. Rents may be declining on a year-over-year basis by late summer, said Jon Leckie, a researcher at Rent.com. 

The end of the pandemic housing boom should help push US inflation lower this year, although the timing is unclear because there’s a lag before market conditions are reflected in the consumer price index. 

“We see home price valuations for new and existing homes coming off, they’re slowing rapidly,” Dana Peterson, an economist at the Conference Board, told Bloomberg TV. “That’s going to show up in rents.”

As the property market cools, divergences between US regions are becoming more noticeable. Ten states saw rent prices fall from a year earlier in December, including a 5.4% drop in Idaho and 2.7% and 2.5% declines in Nevada and Arizona respectively. 

Several big cities are seeing sizable decreases too, including Los Angeles and Chicago,  the second- and third-largest metropolitan areas in the country. 

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