The costs to lease an apartment in the Charleston area dipped in February from a month earlier, remaining below the national average, while rising close to a percentage point in the past year.

San Francisco-based Apartment List analytical and marketing firm reported the number. The company tracks rent growth, median prices and market trends for dozens of locales nationwide.

Lowcountry highlights include the following:

  • Rents in Charleston declined 0.4 percent, or about $4 per $1,000, in February — the past complete month of available figures — from January.
  • Lease figures are up 0.8 percent, or $8 per $1,000, from a year earlier.
  • The two-bedroom midpoint rent in greater Charleston was $1,100 a month, down about 5 percent from the $1,170 national average.
  • In the past year, rent increases across South Carolina. Of the largest 10 cities that Apartment List had data for in the state, eight saw lease price jumps.

The researcher re-jiggled its statistics in the past year to avoid a complete reliance on private listing sites, which "tend to skew towards luxury apartments," the company says. To come up with "the most accurate rent estimates available," Apartment List starts with median rent figures from the Census Bureau, then calculates forward based on its own rental listing totals. The company — similar to Case-Shiller's real estate analytical approach — only compares leases that are available at both tracked time periods to show a complete picture of rent growth in cities across the country, it says.

Apartment List describes itself as the fastest-growing apartment rental marketplace in the U.S.