Colorful cafe bars at the iconic Beale Street music and entertainment district of downtown Memphis, Tennessee.benedek | iStock | Getty ImagesDespite broad hikes in rental prices, competition is easing in some US markets as inventory grows, according to a new report from national real estate brokerage HouseCanary.At the end of 2022, the median US rent was $2,305, which was nearly 5% higher than a year earlier. But when compared to the end of the first half of 2022, that median rent declined by almost 6%, the report shows. Although rent prices have cooled in some markets, others have continued to grow, including metro areas along the East Coast and through the industrial Midwest, HouseCanary found. More from Personal Finance:IRS warns tax refunds may be ‘somewhat lower’ Tech jobs hot in 2023 despite Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft layoffsWhat’s in the Biden administration blueprint for a ‘renters bill of rights’5 markets with the largest annual rent increaseThese US metropolitan real estate markets had the biggest year-over-year percentage increase in the median monthly single-family rental listing price from the second half of 2021 to the second half of 2022. 1. Indianapolis; Carmel, Indiana; Anderson, IndianaMedian rent at the end of 2021: $1,300Median rent at the end of 2022: $1,700Rent increase: 30.8%2. Charleston, South Carolina; North Charleston, South Carolina Median rent at the end of 2021: $2,195 Median rent at the end of 2022: $2,750 Rent increase: 25.3%New Haven, ConnecticutBarry Winiker | Photodisc | Getty Images3. New Haven, Connecticut; Milford, Connecticut Median rent at the end of 2021: $2,250 Median rent at the end of 2022: $2,800 Rent increase: 24.4%4. Naples, Florida; Marco Island, Florida Median rent at the end of 2021: $5,200 Median rent at the end of 2022: $6,448 Rent increase: 24.0%5. PittsburghMedian rent at the end of 2021: $1,520Median rent at the end of 2022: $1,872Rent increase: 23.2%5 metro areas with the largest annual rent decreaseThese US metropolitan real estate markets had the biggest year-over-year percentage decrease in the median Monthly single-family rental listing price from the second half of 2021 to the second half of 2022. 1. Memphis, Tennessee Median rent at the end of 2021: $1,800 Median rent at the end of 2022: $1,695 Rent decrease: -5.8%2 . Port St. Lucie, Florida Median rent at the end of 2021: $2,800 Median rent at the end of 2022: $2,650 Rent decrease: -5.4% Cape Coral, Florida Keita Araki / Eyeem | Eyeem | Getty Images3. Cape Coral, Florida; Fort Myers, Florida Median rent at the end of 2021: $4,000 Median rent at the end of 2022: $3,795 Rent decrease: -5.1%4. Palm Bay, Florida; Melbourne, Florida; Titusville, Florida Median rent at the end of 2021: $2,300 Median rent at the end of 2022: $2,200 Rent decrease: -4.3%5. Phoenix; Mesa, Arizona; Chandler, Arizona Median rent at the end of 2021: $2,350 Median rent at the end of 2022: $2,300 Rent decrease: -2.1%’It’s a pretty dramatic shift’ housing experts sayAs rent prices ease and mortgage rates rise, it’s become cheaper to rent than buy in many markets. Renting a three-bedroom home is more affordable than owning a comparable median-priced property in most of the country, according to a recent report from Attom, a real estate data analysis firm. Similarly, Realtor.com’s December rental report published Thursday found the US median rental price, $1,712, was nearly $800 cheaper than the monthly cost for a starter home. “It’s a pretty dramatic shift,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at Attom, pointing to one year ago when it was cheaper to buy than rent in 60% of the markets Attom analyzed. “You simply can’t overstate the impact that higher financing costs have had on a homeownership.” While mortgage interest rates have recently cooled, rates more than doubled in 2022, which has never happened in one year, according to Freddie Mac. In January 2022, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was around 3% before jumping to over 7% in October and November.Sharga said the rate increase made monthly mortgage payments 45% to 50% higher for a home purchase, even as home price our appreciation slowed down. “That probably is the single biggest factor in creating that shift,” he added. The decision to rent or buy is ‘always a matter of timing’While conditions for homebuyers may be somewhat more favorable in 2023, it’s difficult to predict whether the economy is heading for a recession, which may shift financial priorities, experts say. “One thing to always keep in mind is that markets are constantly changing,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage website HSH. “If you don’t need to be in this marketplace right now, you’re probably better to hold off and watch conditions change.” Of course, there’s more to homebuying decisions than home prices and mortgage interest rates. “The decision on whether to rent or buy is always a matter of timing,” he said. And more importantly, it’s a matter of need.