Top 10 towns with turnaround housing markets

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    (MoneyWatch) Talk about a turnaround.

    Home prices in these 10 cities have jumped as much as 44 percent over the past year, driven upward by small supply and big demand.

    The evidence for both lies in inventory. In these places, the number of homes for sale is shrinking, but so is the time they spend on the market.

    "When inventory is low and age of inventory is low, that means there are more buyers out there snapping up properties at the price point offered so homes aren't sitting on the market," said Leslie Piper,'s consumer housing specialist. "That's the balance you want."

    Nationally, inventory has dropped 3.3 percent, but even more telling is the drop in age of inventory, which has declined 17.7 percent in the third quarter of 2013 over the same period last year, according to a Turnaround Towns report. Typical homes spent about 84 days on the market between July and September, while last year they spent 102 days on market.

    So the 10 towns on this list have seen big jumps in the median list prices, as well as drops in the amount and age of inventory, meaning that these housing markets are undergoing a major recovery and are doing it quickly.

    But that doesn't mean they're in the clear: Some, such as Las Vegas, still have a long way to go before the huge swath of homeowners affected by the crash recover their original home values, if they ever do. And others, such as Boston, may be affected by the lack of affordable housing options in the coming months.

    But at least for now, things are looking up for the housing market in these 10 towns.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.