Trulia, a national real estate Web site and housing research firm, released a report today that indicates that after three months of increases, home prices are flat and rents are on the rise nationally. That’s not the case in the Washington metro area, where home prices have increased more than 3.5 percent year over year, while rents have risen to varying degrees, depending on where you live.

“Most of the metro areas where we’re seeing the biggest price increases right now — that includes Phoenix, Miami, other parts of Florida, Detroit — all really suffered during the housing bust,” Trulia economist Jed Kolko said. “The greater D.C. area is seeing pretty strong price increases now without having had as big a downturn during the bust.”

Rents in the District and Prince George’s County increased about 3.5 percent over a year ago, while those in Montgomery County did not rise as much. 

With rents on the rise, more and more people will look to buy a home rather than continue renting. For those who can afford a down payment and qualify for a loan, it makes more sense financially to buy than rent.

“It is more affordable to buy,” Kolko said. “It’s more affordable to buy almost everywhere in the U.S., except for San Francisco and Honolulu.”