It's the beginning of the month and the end of the year, meaning every rental agency under the sun is crunching numbers related to your landlord's bank balance. First up is the December rental report from Apartment List, with cold comfort for apartment-dwellers.

Locally, Apartment List researches report that rent has declined 0.1 percent in the last month – the second straight month of minor decreases. But let's put that into perspective: that figure also means Philadelphia rents are actually up 0.6 percent since this time last year. They calculate that the median rent for a two-bedroom unit in Philadelphia is $1,160.

The national landscape also offers some context – and a bit of comparative relief. Our median rent is even with the national average, and when Philadelphia is stacked up against other U.S. cities, the picture isn't so grim, either. Places like Seattle, Baltimore and Houston saw increases between 1.6 and 3.5 percent.

Rent in San Francisco (a jaw-dropping $3,050 a month) and New York ($2,480) is still out of reach for most of us.