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PHOENIX-Strong employment gains and fierce competition for single-family homes has fueled demand for rental properties here that will persist well into the new year, according to a fourth-quarter apartment market report by Marcus & Millichap. Companies are hiring at a brisk pace, causing the unemployment rate to fall to 7.4%, a 120-basis point improvement from the beginning of the year.

The report shows a 2.9% increase in total employment, with more than 50,000 new jobs created this year and 28,600 positions added to the metro. As a result, median household income here increased by 4% during the last year, and some households are putting their homes up for sale in a manner not seen since before the recession.

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