Rental listing prices nationwide jumped 7.4 percent in the last year while for-sale listing prices dropped 8.8 percent, according to a report from property search site HotPads.

The report is based on listings active on HotPads in April 2010 and April 2011. First-quarter data shows a reversal of the broader trend — rental prices fell 1.8 percent and sale price rose 3.5 percent — but the report emphasized that the first-quarter trend is likely attributed to seasonal patterns in the housing market.

"We predict investors looking to ride the rental upswing will continue renting properties and will wait for home values to appreciate," the report said.

"Increasing demand for rental properties is an indicator of a growing preference for low-risk housing options, which is closely linked to the broader economic uncertainty." 

Since April 2010, the national median list price of for-sale homes has dropped in every month except for March 2011 and April 2011.

The median rental listing price is more uneven month-to-month, but has shown a clear upward trend in the past year.

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