Online real estate research and listing site Zillow launched a new rent index, the counterpart to its estimated home values index, on Tuesday. The inaugural release of the index shows that median rents rose 3 percent year over year in January.

"We haven’t had a good way to quantify what is happening with rental rates until now, and the inaugural Zillow Rent Index shows us a healthy and growing rental market across the majority of the country, even as home values continue to fall," said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

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