A construction glut and a cooling real estate market have been helping to hold down costs at assisted living facilities.

The average national monthly rate for an individual in an assisted living facility has increased to $2,968, up just 2.2% from the average for 2005, according to researchers at the MetLife Mature Market Institute, Westport, Conn., an affiliate of MetLife Inc., New York.

The average rate increased about 18% between 2004 and 2005.

Averages for specific markets ranged from a low of $1,742 in North Dakota to a high of $5,197 in Bridgewater, N.J.

About 1 million Americans are now living in assisted living facilities, the MetLife researchers report.