Apartment rents dipped slightly here at the end of 2014, but Sonoma County still found itself among the nation’s top 10 markets for rent hikes.

The county ranked fifth last year among 39 large metropolitan areas monitored by Real Answers, a Novato-based rent research firm formerly called RealFacts. The average monthly rent here increased by $122, or 8.4 percent, to $1,567 from a year earlier.

That takes into account a decline of less than 1 percent in the average rent from $1,579 at the end of the third quarter.

Outpacing Santa Rosa last year were San Francisco, San Jose, Denver and Vallejo. The average monthly rent in San Francisco increased last year by $251, or 12.3 percent, to $2,294.

The county’s occupancy rate ended the year at 97.2 percent, a decrease of .1 percent from a year earlier.

The national occupancy rate reached a record high of 94.2 percent in 2014, according to Real Answers.