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15 cities where home prices are soaring

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 26: A view of the Houston skyline during the afternoon on March 26, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Scott Halleran

(MoneyWatch) Recovery in home prices is spreading across the U.S. Nearly every city is seeing improvement following the housing crisis that engulfed the nation over the past five years.

But some cities have done more than that: They've fully recovered, and then some.

Homes.com, a real estate website and listing service, tracks home values in more than 100 cities across the country. The staff there quickly realized that home prices in some cities were emerging from their lowest points and surging even past their highest points.

In some of these cities, homes have more than doubled their value since prices bottomed out.

The secret to their recovery: Home prices never climbed that high during the boom days around 2006 and didn't fall that far when things went bust around 2008. So when they started to recover, "it wasn't that steep of a climb," said Brock MacLean, executive vice president of Homes.com.

Dallas, for example, never jumped on the bubble bandwagon, MacLean said. Instead, the city's home prices remained relatively stable but dropped after peaking in August 2007. Since May 2011, they have been on the upswing, and now it's more expensive to buy a home there than it was in 2007.

That's a stark contrast from cities like Providence, R.I., or Worcester, Mass., where home prices are up only 10 percent from their lowest points.

And Dallas isn't even the top city where home prices have soared beyond their pre-crash peak. Here are the 15 top cities that have seen prices fully recover and are now at historic highs.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

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15. Colorado Springs, Colo.

Just south of Denver, Colorado Springs is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live by various publications, thanks to its scenic location in the southern Rocky Mountains. Home prices have increased 110 percent since their lowest point in April 2011 and are now at their highest since December 2005.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

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14. New Orleans

New Orleans is unique on this list because not only did the homes of city residents lose value during the recession like the rest of the country, they were also significantly affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The city has managed to fully recover -- home prices have risen to 119 percent of their value in February 2011. The median home price is around $175,000.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

13. Omaha, Neb.

Omaha's home prices began their turnaround sooner than most, as the city's homes have now reached 119 percent of their value at their nadir in November 2008. Median home prices have increased this year, hitting almost $150,000.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

12. Denver

Home prices in Denver definitely dropped during the recession, starting in early January 2006, but they have completely recovered this year as the city remains an attractive place to live. In fact, they have increased 120 percent since they reached their lowest point in April 2011. The median home price is now well over $300,000.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

11. Little Rock, Ark.

As the capital and largest city in Arkansas, Little Rock has a diverse economy ranging from banking to retail to healthcare. The city's home prices are now at 124 percent of the value of the low point hit in February 2011 but remain inexpensive. The median price in Little Rock is around $130,000.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

10. El Paso, Texas

El Paso is the first of six Texas cities on the list. The state has seen explosive growth in home prices over the past decade, thanks in part to a growing population and strong economy that weathered the recession better than most. Home prices in the border town are now at 129 percent of their value when they bottomed out in February 2011.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

9. Baton Rouge, La.

Home prices in Baton Rouge have increased 137 percent from their their low point, surpassing their December 2007 peak. The city experienced explosive growth after Hurricane Katrina, when residents of New Orleans relocated there, and the suburban area continues to be one of the fastest-growing in the nation.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

8. Pittsburgh

Of all the cities on the list, Pittsburgh saw the smallest decrease in home prices when the housing bubble burst. The city's prices have dropped only about 9.3 percent from their peak, so it's no wonder that prices have attained 142 percent of their value at their trough in December 2008.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

7. McAllen area, Texas

In the McAllen area, which includes the towns of Mission and Edinburg, home prices are up 179 percent from their value at their lowest point, in February 2011.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

6. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington has the biggest population in Texas, and it appears the city's headcount will not recede any time soon. The three cities combined have a robust economy as well, and are home to the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country, according to Fortune magazine. Home prices have increased 199 percent since their peak in May 2011, and the median price is now up to about $250,000.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

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5. Oklahoma City

Like Texas, Oklahoma's largest cities have also more than recovered from the burst of the housing bubble. Home prices in the state's capital and largest city have grown by 212 percent since bottoming out in February 2011. The median price has recently ranged from around $145,000 to $155,000.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

4. Tulsa, Okla.

Tulsa beats out Oklahoma City by just 1 percent -- its home prices are up 213 percent since they crashed. Homes are generally less expensive here, though, with the median price remaining relatively steady at about $125,000.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

3. Austin, Texas

Texas' capital has grown, earning it a reputation as an up-and-coming city through its vibrant art and music scenes. Home prices there have also soared through the recovery, rising 214 percent from their low point, far surpassing their last peak in September 2008. The median home price in Austin is nearing $300,000.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

2. Houston

The sprawling city of Houston, about 50 miles from Galveston on the the Gulf of Mexico, has grown as an economic powerhouse thanks to its top industry: oil. Home prices have increased 218 percent from the time they struck bottom, and the median price of a home there has risen from about $160,000 earlier this year to nearly $200,000 now.

15 cities where home prices are soaring

1. San Antonio, Texas

Home prices in San Antonio, a midsize city in the southeast corner of Texas, have grown over the past decade. The city saw barely any decrease in prices during the housing crisis, and they now stand at a whopping 227 percent of their low point, reached in February 2011. The median home price has continued to rise over the past year, and falls somewhere between $150,000 and $170,000.