Metro Phoenix area apartment rent increases lead the nation, rising 7.4% over the past year. Almost every Valley of the Sun city beat the national 3% increase, with the city of Surprise leading the way with a remarkable 16% rent hike. Luxury complexes are still being built everywhere here, but few affordable apartment units are. So even with our home price increases, buying can be cheaper than renting. And building equity by buying a home makes more sense over the long term.