Renters who have watched home prices shoot up and their incomes stagnate or dwindle during the pandemic can’t imagine being able to afford buying a home. But the cost of housing continues to rise for everyone, and economists expect rents across the country and in the Philadelphia region to grow faster than home prices in 2022.

Nationally, November marked the fifth straight month of double-digit rent growth compared with last year, when rents grew more slowly than normal because of the pandemic, according to Realtor.com. Rents were up about 20% in November over last year. The median rent in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, which includes Camden and Wilmington, is up 11% from last year to $1,768. Of the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, 47 had double-digit rent growth in November.

National rent growth reached double digits — 11.5% — for the first time in August, when it began to outpace home price growth, according to Realtor.com.

» READ MORE: Rents are up in Philly and nationally. They’re expected to keep rising.

Economists at Realtor.com and Redfin predict that across the country, rents will grow about 7% in 2022, higher than the predicted 3% growth in median home listing prices.

Rental demand is up and will continue to increase. The end of mortgage forbearance means many homeowners will sell and need to rent. High home prices are delaying renters’ plans to purchase. Home sellers are renting while they try to find new homes. Many of the people who move for work will rent while they get to know a new area, and as the pandemic eases next year, more people will choose to live in cities, where renting is more common, said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin.

» READ MORE: Paused mortgage payments are resuming for many homeowners. Foreclosures and sales are sure to follow.

In the Philadelphia metro area, the median rent is $1,693 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,995 for two bedrooms, up roughly 10% and almost 11%, respectively, from last year.

“November data shows the U.S. rental market has made a full comeback, with rents growing six times faster than in March 2020,” Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Relative to for-sale home prices, rents took longer to bounce back from the impact of COVID but are now growing at a significantly faster pace heading into the New Year.”

» READ MORE: The housing market has boomed during the pandemic. What should we expect in 2022?

Rental affordability, especially for those making minimum wage, will be a key issue to watch, she said. Philadelphia residents’ low incomes drive the city’s affordability problems.

Renters generally are more likely than homeowners to work in fields that the pandemic hit hardest. As landlords adjusted during the lockdown at the start of the pandemic and tried to retain and attract tenants, rents in general grew slower than normal. That below-average growth continued into 2021, according to Realtor.com. But property owners are trying to make up for lost revenue and take advantage of increased rental demand.

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Rent growth likely will attract more investors to buy homes in order to rent them. And rising rents mean that aspiring homeowners will struggle to save thousands for a down payment and closing costs, maintenance and repair costs, and taxes and insurance on top of monthly mortgage payments. Home prices across the country and the Philadelphia region continue to rise as home-buying demand outpaces supply.

“Millions of millennial renters are on the cusp of buying their first home, but we expect many will still be held back from home ownership due to affordability,” Taylor Marr, Redfin’s deputy chief economist, said in a statement. “Home prices will remain at record highs, requiring hefty down payments at the same time rising mortgage rates will make home buying more expensive, so many potential first-time home buyers will choose to keep renting.”